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i, V is DUE on the last date stamped below 






ciate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 
131 pages. 

By the late HENBY CODMAN POTTER, D.D., LL.D., Bishop of 
New York. 248 pages. 

ING HADLEY, PH.D., LL.D., President of Yale University. 
(Third printing.) 175 pages. 

LL.D., D.C.L., as President of the United States. (Second 
printing.) Ill pages. 

LL.D., D.C.L. 123 pages. 

BRYCE, D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S., British Ambassador to the 
United States. (Fourth printing.) 138 pages. 

CHARLES EVANS HUGHES, LL.D., formerly Associate Justice 
of the Supreme Court of the United States. (Second print- 
ing.) 123 pages. 

LL.D., Kditor of "The Outlook." 234 pages. 

BALDWIN, LL.D., ex-Governor of Connecticut. 178 pages. 

DOUGLAS ADAMS, PH.D., Professor of History, Leland Stan- 
ford Jr. University. 159 pages. 

(' vi.i , LL.D., Governor of Massachusetts. 134 pages. 

of the Supreme Court of Ontario. 170 pages. 

Uniform /,?mo cloth hound volumes. 

(Third printing.) 8ro. Cloth liinding. 240 pages. 



Policeman and Public 

Arthur Woods, A.M. 

Colonel, Air Service, U. S. A. 

Formerly Police Commissioner of New York City 

Author of ' Crime Prevention" 

New Haven : ^ 

Yale University Press. 

I .on. Inn: Humphrey Milford: Oxford University Press. 

Copyright, 1919, by 
Yale University Press 




The following lectures in the Dodge Course at Yale 
University upon the Responsibility of Citizenship 
were delivered in April, 1918, while we were at war 
with Germany, and before nation-wide prohibition 
had gone into effect. Some of the matters treated 
may therefore seem out of date, but the text has been 

/^ left unchanged, for the principles are enduring. 

H As the book goes to press, the questions of police 
labor unions and strikes are much in the public mind. 
I cannot but feel that these questions would never 
have arisen if a better and truer understanding had 
i xisted between police and public if the public paid 
its guardians proper salaries, provided them witfy 
single-minded public servants for leaders, kept itself 
informed as to police methods and results, and 
adopted means to reward men who were rendering 
commendable service; and if the police had been made 
to realize that they are entrusted with the proud duty 
of maintaining law and order, that they.) serve the 
whole people regardless of sect, politics, station in 
life or industry. 

This would make intolerable anv action on their 

8 Policeman and Public 

part that would tend to commit them more to the 
service of one part of the community than another, 
except that of the law-abiding against the law- 


I. The Puzzling Law 11 

II. The Policeman as Judge .... 27 

III. The People's Advocate .... 47 

IV. Methods of Law Enforcement ... 55 

V. Esprit de Corps 83 

VI. Reward and Punishment .... 96 

VII. Grafting 110 

VIII. Influence 135 

IX. Police Leadership 143 

X. The Public's Part 162 

Policeman and Public 

The Puzzling Law 

WHAT is the average man's conception of the 
policeman's job? How does he think the 
guardian of law and order spends his time? 

Most people probably picture to themselves the 
rather traditional officer that is seen strolling care- 
free up and down the street, with no particular aim, 
swinging his club, good-natured, yet with a certain 
degree of menace. It is known, of course, that he 
sometimes makes an arrest, and once in a while a 
brave deed he has done is read of in the paper, or an 
allegation of graft. It is known, too, that there are 
detectives, but the general idea of detective work and 
methods is a bit vague, and is apt to have been 
formed more from absorbing books or films than 
from the actual performances of flesh-and-blood de- 
tectives. An opinion commonly held about the pojice- 
umn, and frrrly r\|>rrsM-<l, is that lu-\ nrvrr thriv 
when you want him. That is perhaps the most fre- 

12 Policeman and Public 

quently administered police bromide. Another, for 
children only, is the bogie idea. "If you are not 
good the policeman will get you !" is a patent medi- 
cine used under stress even in our best families. 

On the whole, however, people probably don't 
think much about policemen anyway. They are 
rather taken for granted, like a lamp-post, or a letter 
box, or any other feature of the natural scenery of a 
city. Yet no one hesitates to find fault, and every 
one is ready to believe anything bad about them, as 
is exemplified by the advice given a cub reporter once 
by one of the old-timers on the newspaper. The 
younger scribe was sitting at the long writing table, 
looking bored and disconsolate. 

"What's wrong, boy?" 

"Oh, bored. There's nothing to do." 

"Nothing to do ! Why don't you write a story for 
a change?" 

"Nothing to write." 

"Oh, go on. Now listen : when you've got to write 
about something, and there isn't anything to write 
about, just reel off a story boosting the firemen, or 
knocking the cops. Both always go !" 

The reasons for this are probably not far to seek. 
We see the fireman gloriously pounding down the 
street on his way to save property, to save lives, 
that is our picture of him, our conception of his 
duties, and naturally we "boost" him. The police- 

The Puzzling Law 13 

man, however, we don't see distinctly doing anything 
definite at all, but we probably remember that our 
stolen pocketbook was not recovered for us, that a 
policeman rudely and absurdly stopped us once from 
crossing a parade line, or upbraided us for not seeing 
a traffic signal he didn't make we are certain he 
didn't and "they say" that policemen are so dis- 
honest. Xo wonder we are ready to read "knocking" 

The policeman as he is, few persons see and know. 
This is partly his own fault, for he is apt to be none 
too frank about what he's doing, and isn't likely to 
open wide the door to those who come to inform 
themselves as to what manner of man he is. It is also 
the fault of the public, for they have ben content 
to leave him as he is, without bothering to find out 
whether the failings they see in him are inherent, or 
are curable, and theirs to cure. 

His duties as laid down by law arc important ; in 
fact, they must be reasonably well performed or our 
lives and property are not secure; and, unlike the 
duties of the fireman, they are complicated and of 
gndless variety. The New York City Charter 
specifies : 

"Sec. 315. It is hereby made the duty of the police 
department and force, at all times of day and night, 
and the members of such force are hereby thereunto 
empowered to especially preserve the public peace, 

14 Policeman and Public 

prevent crime, detect and arrest offenders, suppress 
riots, mobs and insurrections, disperse unlawful or 
dangerous assemblages, and assemblages which ob- 
struct the free passage of public streets, sidewalks, 
parks and places ; protect the rights of persons and 
property, guard the public health, preserve order at 
elections and all public meetings and assemblages, 
regulate, direct, control, restrict and direct the 
movement of all teams, horses, carts, wagons, auto- 
mobiles, and all other vehicles in streets, bridges, 
squares, parks and public places, for the facilitation 
of traffic and the convenience of the public as well as 
the proper protection of human life and health, and 
to that end the police commissioner shall make such 
rules and regulations for the conduct of vehicular 
traffic in the use of the public streets, squares and 
avenues as he may deem necessary; . . . remove all 
nuisances in the public streets, parks and highways ; 
arrest all street mendicants and beggars ; provide 
proper police attendance at fires ; assist, advise, and 
protect emigrants, strangers and travelers in public 
streets, at steamboat and ship landings, and at rail- 
road stations ; carefully observe and inspect all 
places of public amusement, all places of business 
having excise or other licenses to carry on any busi- 
ness ; all houses of ill-fame or prostitution, and 
houses where common prostitutes resort or reside; 
all lottery offices, policy shops, and places where 

The Puzzling Law 15 

lottery tickets or lottery policies are sold or offered 
for sale ; all gambling-houses, cock-pits, rat-pits, and 
public common dance-houses, and to repress and 
restrain all unlawful and disorderly conduct or prac- 
tices therein ; enforce and prevent the violation of all 
laws and ordinances in force in said city; and for 
these purposes, to arrest all persons guilty of violat- 
ing any law or ordinance for the suppression or 
punishment of crimes or offenses." 

It will be noticed that the Section ends by making 
it clear to policemen that there are no exceptions, 
they are to arrest all persons guilty of violating any 
law or ordinance for the suppression of crimes or 

- What are these laws that the policeman is charged 
to enforce? There are plenty of them, and they 
come from all quarters, from the Federal Govern- 
ment, from the State, from the City, and theoretically 
each policeman should know all of them, so as to be 
able to enforce all. 

It is essential for the public weal, for instance, 
that the police should be thoroughly familiar with 
the Federal Immigration law, knowing just what 
classes are forbidden entry into the country, and 
just what is necessary in order to put them out 
again, in case they have slipped in among us in spite 
of the law. Black Hand crime, as an example, which 
was so rife in New York only a few years ago, was 

16 Policeman and Public 

the work in most cases of Italian convicts who had 
criminal records at home, and therefore were in the 
United States in defiance of our laws. When this 
state of affairs was found out, police methods 
changed and the Black Hander fared ill. Instead of 
waiting for crimes to be committed, and then labori- 
ously trying to catch the perpetrators, the police got 
the certified criminal records, from Italy, of Italian 
criminals in this country, worked up each case so as 
to prove that the man in question was the one de- 
scribed by the certificate, and that he had been less 
than three years in the country, and then showed 
him the way home. 

Other Federal laws which the police, especially 
nowadays, must know are the laws covering dis- 
loyalty, and they are pretty hard even for some 
lawyers to understand. The constitution provides : 

Art. III. Sec. 3. "1. Treason against the United 
States shall consist only in levying war against them 
or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and 
comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason 
unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same 
overt act or on confession in open court." 

It was therefore held in 1861 that oral words do 
not constitute treason, for there is no overt act. 
The law does not punish a man for his treasonable 
thoughts or words unless they are translated into 
action. If his words are only expressions of his 

The Puzzling Law 17 

thoughts they cannot be treated as overt acts. Ac- 
cording to the law it is not treason in this country 
to desire the success of Germany or even to state 
that one desires it. To commit treason one must do 
something. But if the words are printed, certainly, 
or perhaps even spoken, not as an expression of a 
man's own opinion but as a means to effect the pur- 
pose of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, then 
they are treasonable. 

Thus, in a case recently on trial in Philadelphia, 
editors of a newspaper were indicted, not for print- 
ing news items, but for so characterizing them as to 
give aid and comfort to the enemy. Thus, a German 
victory was called "A Brilliant Victory," and a re- 
verse "A Bad Setback." The news of a good harvest 
in Germany was called "A Joyous Message from the 
German Empire" ; a message from Admiral Sims was 
designated "high-flown words." The announcement 
that the Administration proposed to build 35,000 
airships was headed "Really Too Funny"; news 
about recruiting was headed "Failure of Recruit- 
ing." The Court held that if all this could be proved 
it indicated, not that the newspaper way printing 
legitimate news, but that it was engaged in a course 
of conduct which would "give aid and comfort to the 

If one says, "Germany deserves to win the war 
and I hope she does," it is not treason under the law 

18 Policeman and Public 

if these words are simply expressions of one's 
thought. But if one prints a series of headings over 
actual news articles with the intent to give aid and 
comfort to the enemy it is treason. The distinction 
is real, but the average patrolman might be sorely 
puzzled as to just where to draw the line in a nice 
case, especially if it takes place in the hurly-burly of 
a turbulent gathering. 

Again, the police, if they are going to meet fully 
their wartime responsibilities, must be qualified to 
assist the Federal Government in the enforcement of 
the Espionage Act, which became a law June 15, 
1917. Section 3 reads as follows : 

"Whoever when the United States is at war shall 
wilfully make or convey false reports or false state- 
ments with intent to interfere with the operation or 
success of the military or naval forces of the United 
States or to promote the success of its enemies, and 
whoever when the United States is at war shall wil- 
fully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, dis- 
loyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty in the military or 
naval forces of the United States or shall wilfully 
obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the 
United States to the injury of the service or of the 
United States shall be punished by a fine of not more 
than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than 20 
years, or both." 

The Puzzling Law 19 

The Section can be divided roughly into three 
parts, making it criminal for anyone : 

1. To interfere by false statements with the 
operation or success of our forces. 

2. To cause, or attempt to cause, insubordina- 
tion, disloyalty, refusal of duty in our forces. 

3. To obstruct wilfully the recruiting or enlist- 
ment service. 

The policeman must know this, and must clearly 
realize, for instance, that whereas an attempt to 
cause disloyalty in our forces is a crime, yet it is not 
a crime to attempt to interfere with recruiting unless 
the attempt be successful. A case occurred out 
West where a man was reported to have made re- 
marks something as follows: 

"If I were you I would not go down to be examined 
for service. They cannot do anything if you would 
not go." 

"Our country is ruled by the British Crown. 
President Wilson is a Britisher. Hoover is nothing 
but a Britisher. I would rather see my children led 
out and shot than to see them burdened by a bond 

"You are fools to appear for the draft. If I were 
you I would not appear and would not go. Any man 
who is a loyal American citizen will not buy a Liberty 

20 Policeman and Public 

"If the young men would follow my advice . . . 
and stand on their constitutional rights, they could 
not be forced to go abroad to fight for this country. 
I would advise the young men to resist the draft for 
foreign service." 

Officers of the law were called on, and they took 
the man into custody, charging him with violation of 
Section 3 of the Espionage Act. Now, the prosecu- 
tion could not be under the third part of the Section, 
since there was no evidence that he had succeeded in 
obstructing enlistment or recruiting. It had to be 
under the second part, and then the jury had to 
decide whether the attempt proved was an attempt 
to cause disloyalty or refusal of duty in our forces. 

In these days, policemen may at any time have to 
make quick decisions as to whether arrests should be 
made in difficult border-line cases involving disloyalty 
or treason to our country, so they must know these 
Federal laws, and know them so well that they can 
act before it is too late. 

Besides the Federal laws, the police force must 
know the laws of the State. These include the whole 
Penal Code. It must know intimately, for the com- 
munity relies on it to enforce them, all the laws telling 
what people must not do, ranging from murder, with 
the death penalty as its consequence, down through 
a despairing list of wicked things, to, let us say, 
driving an automobile in the evening with the tail 

The Puzzling Law 21 

light not shining brightly enough, or fastened on at 
such an angle as not to illuminate the license number 
according to law. 

A policeman need never have any doubt as to 
some state-made laws : if he sees a ruffian crack a 
peaceable citizen on the head with a blackjack and 
then go through his pockets, he knows some section 
of the Penal Code has been violated; he may not 
remember its number, or its exact terms, but he 
knows he should lay hold of that rough and convey 
him to the station house. 

On the other hand, he will often be puzzled by 
things that happen. For example, he will not infre- 
quently find difficulty in determining what constitutes 
a "breach of the peace." The statute passed by the 
State legislature, but applying only to New York 
City, reads: 

"Whenever it shall appear, on oath of a credible 
witness before any police justice in said city and 
county, that any person in said city and county has 
been guilty of any such disorderly conduct as in the 
opinion of such magistrate tends to a breach of the 
peace, the said magistrate may cause the person so 
complained of to be brought before him to answer 
the said charge." 

Another provision applying only to public places 
makes it disorderly conduct to "use any threatening, 
abusive or insulting behavior with intent to provoke 

22 Policeman and Public 

a breach of the peace or whereby a breach of the 
peace may be occasioned." 

Under this statute a policeman must take action 
when he finds anyone guilty of conduct which "tends 
to, or may bring about, a breach of the peace." It 
is very largely a relative matter. Thus one court 
held that insulting language used by a prisoner to 
a policeman while he was being led to the station 
house, did not come within the statute for the reason 
that the policeman was in duty bound to preserve 
the peace, and therefore nothing that might have 
been said to him by the prisoner could have tended 
to bring about a breach of it ! Again, if a speaker 
in a hall with a thoroughly pro-German audience 
says, "Germany must and will win the war; besides, 
she ought to win it," these remarks, provocative 
though they would be to any American audience, 
would not come within the statute, since if every one 
present agreed with the views expressed they would 
not "tend to a breach of the peace." The same re- 
marks, however, or far less bold remarks spoken on 
a street corner with a few real Americans in the 
audience would most certainly tend toward several 
breaches of the peace, would come within the statute 
and land the offender summarily inside a jail. 

But the police must not limit themselves to a 
thorough knowledge of all the niceties of Federal and 
State laws ; many offenses committed in their pres- 

The Puzzling Law 23 

ence are against city ordinances, of which they must 
also be thoroughly cognizant. The number of these 
ordinances seems legion. To illustrate: the police 
must know that a permit from the City Clerk is re- 
quired for the display of an electric sign, which must 
be ten feet in the clear above the level of the sidewalk 
and must not project more than eight feet from the 
building line; that the Board of Aldermen issues 
licenses for driving advertising wagons through the 
street; and only the Police Commissioner has the 
power to issue licenses for holding religious street 
meetings, for masquerade balls, for parades, for 
boarding-house runners, stationary engineers and 
firemen. The New York City ordinances forbid : 
bathing in a public place without being decently at- 
tired ; throwing any fruit or vegetable skins or other 
slippery substance on the sidewalk; using salt to 
dissolve snow or ice on the sidewalk ; offering for sale 
theatre tickets in the street ; offering for sale bean 
shooters or using them in a public place; trick riding, 
or carrying a child under five years of age on a 
bicycle in a public street. The police must have 
readily available the knowledge that a permit from 
the Board of Health is required for keeping cows or 
live pigeons or chickens, geese or ducks; for main- 
taining a shelter for homeless animals; for keeping 
a lodging-house; for erecting a tent ; for maintaining 
a houseboat; for selling milk; for using well water in 

24 Policeman and Public 

the Borough of Manhattan ; for manufacturing min- 
eral waters; for selling oysters. They must know 
that the Sanitary Code forbids the using of a bath- 
room as a sleeping place; the supplying for public 
use of common drinking cups, free lunch forks or 
common roller towels ; the placing of a dead horse in 
the street without attaching a tag bearing the owner's 
name; the sieving or exposing of ashes, coal, dry 
sand, hair, feathers or other substance likely to be 
blown about by the wind, or to shake any mat, car- 
pet, rug or cloth where particles of dust would pass 
into a street or public place. And they must know 
that the Sanitary Code requires us all to. keep suffi- 
cient water-tight receptacles to contain the ashes and 
garbage which may accumulate within thirty-six 
hours and not to permit such receptacles to be filled 
higher than within four inches of the top. We must 
keep our ashes and garbage separately; we must 
keep the garbage cans covered; we must remove the 
receptacles when they have been emptied. 

These are only instances of ordinances, which are 
quoted so that the reader may gain an idea of the 
range of police knowledge required. We have not 
touched at all upon the various requirements for fire 
prevention and the storage and care of explosives, or 
the ordinances affecting tenement houses, or those 
regulating the work of the Departments of Water 
Supply Gas and Electricity, of Parks, of Docks and 

The Puzzling Law 25 

Ferries, of Education, of Public Charities, of Cor- 
rection, of Bridges, of the various Borough bureaus : 
highways, sewers, buildings and encumbrances. 

Nation, state and city authorities seem to the 
policeman to vie with each other to regulate our 
comings and goings ; to specify what we may do and 
what we shall not do; to tell us exactly how and 
when we may do the few things that are permitted, 
and then the whole thing is dumped bodily on him 
and he is burdened with the somber duty of making 
each one of us obey to the letter every one of all these 
multifarious laws. 

Now, probably no single mind contains, or could> 
successfully retain, all this knowledge of law and 
have it automatically available for application to 
particular, puzzling cases as they occur. At any 
rate, it is not conceivable that all policemen should 
have such vast legal knowledge, though many of 
them are extraordinarily well versed in law, and wise 
and prompt in applying their knowledge. 

Hence the need for capable police leadership. 

The policeman on post, at $1400 or $1500 a year, 
cannot be a sort of muscular combination of Black- 
stone and Sherlock Holmes. He must be taught and 
trained. His compHetg*l ^]*"ft TTTMfft be simplified 
forjiim bv the clear and patient instructions of his 
Igadergj for capable leadership can make easy the 
difficult, can clear up the obscure, and can make 

26 Policeman and Public 

each individual policeman an effective member of the 
force by continual inst^^^^^and by limiting his 
duties according to his capacity. 

The time-worn professional police theory thai 
everyone in the uniform knows aLLaboutJbhe^iob^and 
only needs to be let alone by bosses andpublicj_has 
been responsible for most of our weak, and much of 
our dishonest, police service. 


The Policeman as Judge 

TN this duty of law enforcement the policeman is 
_in a very real sense a judge. ___ He has to decide 
whether or not a law is violated and therefore whether 
he should take official action. This is about the same 

duty that a judge is charged with, but the conditions 
under which the two work, judge and policeman, 
seem about as different as their salaries. The judge 
sits on his bench in a quiet room with court officers 
scattered around to make his work easy, to run 
errands for him, to ensure quiet and decorum. He 
has clerks and stenographers. He has libraries of 
law books, with messengers to go and get them for 
him and clerks to assist him in looking up the authori- 
ties. He can take the time he requires to consult 
musty tomes athis leisure and as many of them as 
he thinks fit, before he has to give his decision. And 
if he make a mistake, if his decision be wrong, the 
only penalty he incurs is the chagrin he may feel at 
being reversed by the superior court. 

Compare the poor policeman. He is alone on_a 
street corner: things am h^ppjpning all around him ; 

28 Policeman and Public 

an excited crowd is gathering; people are talking 
loud and perhaps fisticuffing; all is confusion. He 
must decide instantly and take immediate action, for 
delay may mean an irremediable error; a life may 
be indirectly at stake. All the policeman's knowl- 
edge of all the laws jnust be on automatic tap ready 
to be applied unerringly upon an instant's notice. 
And if he make a mistake, woe betide him, for he 
is between the devil and the deep blue sea : if he takes 
a person into custody wrongfully he subjects him- 
self to a personal suit for civil damages, yet if he 
fails to take the person into custody he may render 
himself liable to departmental discipline and perhaps 
dismissal for having failed to take proper police 
action. The odds are all against him, and all with 
the judge, yet we seldom criticise judges if they make 
honest errors, and we seldom fail to criticise police- 
men when they make much the same kind of error. 

It is interesting to realize that only in free coun- 
tries is the public protected against this sort of 
official misconduct, against the overstepping of its 
rights by police officers. In Germany the policeman is 
not liable to a citizen whom he wrongfully arrests. 
In the United States the policeman is protected only 
in the exercise of his legal duties. In the confusion 
of the scene or because of the puzzle of the point at 
issue a policeman may easily overstep his rights 
under the law, yet if he does so even by the fraction 

The Policeman as Judge 29 

of an inch, "even in the estimation of a hair," he at 
once loses his immunity, becomes a plain ordinary 
citizen like the rest of us and is personally liable 
under either criminal or civil action like any other 
civilian. The law permits him, for instance, to use 
force, and all the force that is necessary in order to 
perform his legal duty* but he must be able to demon- 
strate that it actually was his duty, that force was 
needed, and that he did not use one ounce more than 
was absolutely necessary. A policeman is therefore 
apt to be cautious and to refrain from taking action 
if there is doubt. 

And there is often doubt. What should he do 
when he walks through the heart of the tenement 
district of the city on a sweltering August night and 
sees a pale, driven mother sleeping on a fire escape 
with her five children, trying to get a trace of a 
breath of fresh air which they could not find in their 
stuffy room? The law forbids this use of fire 
escapes ; but the policeman will hardly have the 
heart to enforce the law by driving these unfortunate 
people into agony again. What is his "duty"? 

Picture to yourself another case. There is a huge 
political meeting in Madison Square Garden. The 
seating capacity inside is 8500, and the hall has been 
filled, seating and standing capacity both, for an 
hour, yet the crowds outside are surging toward the 
entrance through every street that leads to the Gar- 

30 Policeman and Public 

den. Patrolman Gilligan is doing his best at his 
appointed station to keep back the crowd; though 
they are pressing him sorely he is trying hard to 
hold them, to keep himself and them good-natured, 
to avoid using force yet he must keep them back. 

As 'they crowd up against him once again and he 
raises his arms to stay them, his elbow strikes the 
eye of an infirm gentleman in the front rank, some 
sixty-five years old, and Gilligan calls out : "Don't 
you know enough to back up there? I'll lock up 
somebody in this bunch if you don't look out !" 

"You don't need to hit me in the eye !" someone 

"Sorry, sir, I'm sure, but here there, you back 
there, quit your shoving now!" 

Not long after this incident the crowd begins to 
thin out, as people see at last that there's no hope 
of entering the Garden. Gilligan manages to main- 
tain his part of the lines, and dog-tired goes off 
duty just before midnight. 

A few days later Gilligan comes home from the 
dreary "late tour," from midnight to eight o'clock. 
His wife has a hot breakfast waiting for him and is 
standing out on the doorstep with the two little 
Gilligans waving a welcome to him, the little ones 
jumping up and down and clapping their hands, they 
are so glad to see father again. As he comes up to 
the doorstep a man walks up to him: "Are you 

The Policeman as Judge 31 

Officer Patrick Gilligan?" and shoves a paper into 
his hand. This is what he reads : 

Supreme Court, 

County and State of New York. 
John Lovejoy, Plaintiff, vs. Patrick Gilligan, 

1. The above-named plaintiff is and was at all 
times hereinafter mentioned a citizen of the State of 
New York, residing in the County of New York. 

2. On or about the 17th day of October, 1917, 
the defendant did at the southwest corner of Twenty- 
fifth Street and Madison Avenue, in the county of 
New York aforesaid, maliciously, wilfully and unlaw- 
fully assault the plaintiff, thereby causing great 
physical injury to the plaintiff. 

3. The defendant did, at the time and place 
aforementioned, threaten, abuse and vilify this plain- 
tiff, thereby causing plaintiff to be grossly humiliated 
and to suffer great mental anguish to the plaintiff's 

4. The plaintiff annexes hereto a bill of particu- 
lars which he makes a part of this complaint. 

Wherefore the plaintiff asks for judgment against 
the defendant in the sum of Twenty-five Thousand 
Dollars and further asks that he be awarded his costs 
and disbursements in the action. 


Plaintiff's Attorneys. 

32 Policeman and Public 

Gilligan's breakfast is not apt to be eaten with a 
very keen relish. By his savings and through the 
economies and thrifty management of his wife he 
has managed to make his last payment on the $4000 
he spent for his home, and he has $300 in the savings 
bank. He does not remember the political meeting 
episode, and has not the slightest idea of what the 
paper refers to, onjy he knows that he has not 
assaulted anyone or vilified anyone. Yet there he is, 
faced with the prospects of having to give up all his 

Another policeman is patrolling placidly down 
Broadway, swinging his club gently, counting the 
time till he will be relieved. All at once two angry, 
gesticulating men come out of the door of a hotel 
bar in front of him. They see him. 

"Arrest that man !" shouts one. "He swindled me 
out of a thousand dollars and I'd had a hard enough 
job to save it. He told me he had a gold mine, 
showed me some of the gold, showed me pictures 
of it, told me all about the fortune shareholders 
would make. And there's nothing to it. He's a 
plain swindler. I've never had a dollar of dividends 
and they tell me the stock isn't worth the paper it's 
printed on. Arrest him, officer! I'll teach him a 
thing or two and make him pay for that thousand." 

To which the second man rather calmly rejoins: 
"Officer, arrest me if you dare. He bought securi- 

The Policeman as Judge 33 

ties of me for a thousand dollars, yes, but he has got 
the securities. The gold I showed him came from 
the mine, the photographs were taken of the mine, 
and it is not up to me if he has not got any dividends 

Now, what is the policeman to do? If the gold did 
come from the mine and if the photographs were of 
the mine buildings, even though they were poor 
shanties, it would be likely that no law had been 
violated, for false promises do not constitute viola- 
tion, though false representations of existing facts 
do. If the policeman makes an arrest, he may simply 
be exposing himself to a civil suit ; if he fails to make 
an arrest and refers the aggrieved one to a magis- 
trate for a warrant, he may be letting a contemptible 
swindler go scot-free. 

A few hours later on the other side of the street 
two more excited men may come out of a hotel 
entrance, one, the hotel clerk, demanding that the 
officer arrest the other. "If you don't arrest him 
I will see the Commissioner and have your shield taken 
away. This man tried to beat the hotel out of his 
bill, he tried to slip over a phony check on me." 

"If you arrest me," answers the other, "I will sue 
you and stay with it till I've got your year's salary. 
There was nothing phony about that check. I just 
happened to let my account get overdrawn for a day 
or two." 

34 Policeman and Public 

Again, what is the policeman to do? If the man 
never had an account in the bank he would be guilty 
of larceny; if, on the other hand, he had had an 
account and simply overdrew it, he would be guilty 
only of carelessness. But the policeman has no time 
to make an examination at the bank. He has to 
decide right then and there whether or not he will 
make the arrest. 

One of the hardest things a policeman must decide 
on the spot is whether a misdemeanor or a felony 
has been committed. If a felony, he has the right 
to make an arrest without a warrant, if he has rea- 
sonable grounds to believe that the man he arrests 
committed the act ; if a misdemeanor, he has no right 
to arrest, unless he witnessed the occurrence. 

Thus, if a policeman sees a woman with a bleeding 
face shrieking down the street after a man who, she 
cries out, has struck her, he has the right to make 
an arrest if the man hit her with a dangerous weapon, 
but not if he hit her with his fist. An umbrella or a 
cane, in the eye of the law, would qualify as a dan- 
gerous weapon. And it must be remembered that the 
mere stopping of the man would be technically false 
imprisonment. Unless he is willing to take the risk 
of being able to prove later that a weapon was used, 
he arrests at his peril, for if it was what is called 
a "simple assault," he legally has no right to take 
action more drastic than suggesting to the mal- 

The Policeman as Judge 35 

treated woman that she apply to a magistrate for 
a warrant, or informing her that she has the power 
of arrest, and assuring her that if she exercises it 
he will preserve the peace. 

The inevitable result of this sort of thing is that 
the policeman learns by experience and by the wise 
advice of his elders that his best course is to play 
safe, to keep out of trouble, to think before he acts, 
and think especially how any action he might take 
would affect him personally. He can never afford 
to lose sight of either penalty, the chance of being 
taken to court on either a civil or criminal charge, 
and the danger of being put on charges before the 
trial Deputy Commissioner of the Department. He 
may dodge Scylla only to be sucked into Charybdis. 
And the discipline of the Department is no joke; if 
he is dismissed from the Force he loses not only his 
job, but all his accumulated rights to a pension; and 
a good bit of his savings probably goes to pay the 
legal expenses of his trial. The mistakes that get a 
policeman into trouble are usually those of action. 
The temptation is therefore to do nothing, to see 
nothing, not to be there; and if there by some un- 
happy chance, to look the other way, to step around 
the corner. 

A young policeman one night, very late, was 
patrolling his post not far from the Pennsylvania 
railroad station. There were not many people 

36 Policeman and Public 

around. This policeman was rather new in the pro- 
fession, having been graduated from the Training 
School only a few months, and being still full of 
the excellent instruction he received there. A rather 
unusual number of night burglaries had been occur- 
ring in the precinct, and the captain had warned all 
sergeants and patrolmen to be particularly on the 
alert for suspicious-looking characters. The patrol- 
man had been taught in the school that during the 
small hours of the morning if a man came along the 
post carrying a bundle, it was good police work 
tactfully but firmly to insist upon being shown the 
contents of the bundle, for burglars must carry away 
their loot somehow or it is of no use to them; and 
men with bundles on lonely posts, at lonely hours, 
might be burglars. 

A man who, under ordinary circumstances, would 
have excited no one's suspicion, came along this offi- 
cer's post carrying a rather large and pretty well 
stuffed-out dress-suit case. 

The policeman eyed him for a few moments, and 
then stepped up to him : "I am sorry, sir, but I must 
ask you to let me see what you have in that bag." 

"I shall do nothing of the kind ; it is none of your 

"I am very sorry, sir," replied the young officer; 
"my instructions are that I must investigate any bag 
or bundle that is carried along the street at this time 

The Policeman as Judge 37 

of night. I hope you won't be offended ; I am pretty 
sure you're all right. Won't you be a good fellow 
and help me out by just letting me take a look in the 
bag? Or else I might get into all sorts of trouble 
with the boss for not doing what he told me." 

Somewhat mollified by the patrolman's address, 
the man asked: "What is all this about, officer; 
what's the game?" 

"Well, there have been a few burglaries in this 
precinct lately, and the captain's red-hot to stop 
'em; so he has told all of us to keep an extra eye 
out for people carrying bundles at unusual hours. 
It is no crime to carry bundles through the street, 
and I don't wonder that you're sore at being held 
up like this just when you are probably hurrying 
home to get some sleep. It is a tough job, the cop's 
job; he has to do all sorts of things that get him in 
wrong with people." 

By this time the man had his dress-suit case open, 
and the officer satisfied himself by a couple of glances 
that no spoils of burglary were in it. They said 
good-night to each other and the man went along. 
The patrolman forgot the incident. 

A couple of days later, however, a letter came to 
the Police Commissioner from the employer of the 
man in question, who was the president of a large 
company. The letter said that a young man in the 
employ of the company, thoroughly respectable, 

38 Policeman and Public 

completely trusted, well mannered and of good hab- 
its, had been brusquely accosted by an officer two 
nights before on his way home from a business trip 
out of town. In spite of his protests the officer had 
insisted upon examining the contents of his bag. 
Such conduct on the part of the policeman was 
wholly without warrant of law, was unjustifiable, and 
was the kind of conduct which can not be tolerated 
in public officials. An immediate investigation was 
demanded, with proper disciplinary measures against 
the officer. The writer of the letter announced that 
he was not going to be put off in this matter; that 
he proposed to see it through, and, if the police 
authorities did not take action that seemed to him 
adequate, he would go higher. 

No harm came to the policeman in this case. The 
risk he ran, however, was great, for, in trying to do 
his duty, he exposed himself to the resentment of a 
man who proved to be possessed of influence and who 
was thoroughly capable of driving a matter to a 

Is it any wonder that the policeman gradually 
comes to conclude that no action is probably the 
safest action? It is clear that, under such condi- 
tions, the policeman cannot be the clear-headed, 
impartial judge which the best interests of his work 
demand. The effect on him in his performance of 
duty of this play of forces is apt to work unfavor- 

The Policeman as Judge 39 

ably to the public interest, for, although at first 
thought it might appear that police action would be 
influenced in the right direction, and that the caution 
bred in him in this way would merely prevent him 
from making unnecessary arrests, such an impres- 
sion is not true, for the making of arrests is only 
one part of police duty, and there is no virtue, either 
in the mere making of a large number of arrests, or 
in cutting the number down. What the public inter- 
est demands is that the policeman should take action, 
whether that action mean arrest or mere admonition, 
when action is called for; and that he should refrain 
from taking action, not because he shirks, because 
he fears the consequences to himself, but only because 
his good judgment tells him action would be wrong. 
There is all the difference in the world between fail- 
ing to make an arrest became intelligent, 

judgmenjshows if should not he made ? and failing 
to make it only because personal trouble may follow 
or time be required in court. 

The soundness of the policeman's judicial conduct 
is of the greatest importance to the public, and per- 
haps especially to that part of the public which may 
have offended and brought itself to his judicial 
notice. A mistake made by a policeman may often 
have a disastrous and irrevocable effect. Let us sup- 
pose, for instance, that a policeman on duty in a 
park sees a citi/.en on his hands and knees on the 

40 Policeman and Public 

lawn with his head down, apparently chewing grass. 
The officer takes him into custody. On his way to 
court he must decide what to charge the man with. 
On the one hand, the charge may be violating an ordi- 
nance, in which case the specifications would be, tres- 
passing on the grass of the park. The magistrate 
would probably find him guilty, say, "Don't do it 
again," and suspend sentence, or perhaps might fine 
him a dollar, and the man would walk out of court 
little the worse for his experience. 

On the other hand, the policeman might decide 
that trespassing on the grass was only an accidental 
feature of the case and that the man's actions were 
such as to indicate he was of unsound mind. In this 
case he would tell the magistrate : 

"My name is John Conver; I am a patrolman 
attached to the 33d Precinct, Shield No. 1234. On 
the 3d of May, 1918, at about 3: 30 p.m., my atten- 
tion was attracted to the defendant by seeing him on 
the grass in the park on my post. I drew near to 
him and saw that he was on his hands and knees 
chewing grass, your Honor. When I addressed him 
he looked up and there was a kind of a wild look in 
his eyes. He kept on chewing and did not answer. 
I thereupon took the defendant into custody and 
accompanied him to the station house." 

Upon such testimony the magistrate undoubtedly 
would commit the defendant to a hospital for obser- 

The Policeman as Judge 41 

ration as to his sanity, and the chances are fair that 
he would be found insane and committed to an asylum, 
perhaps for life. 

The decision of the policeman as to whether to 
charge him with violation of an ordinance or insanity 
might be the turning of the lane in that man's life, 
changing absolutely his whole future. 

Whenever a policeman makes an arrest he starts 
the whole inexorable machine of law going. When 
the policeman says, "My friend, you are under ar- 
rest," he pushes a button that starts the machinery. 

He opens the signal box, calls the station house, 
reports the arrest. The chauffeur of the patrol 
wagon puts out his pipe, cranks his engine, clangs 
his bell, rumbles out of the garage, rings his way up 
the street to the box where the officer and the dazed 
prisoner are waiting. Into the Black Maria he steps, 
down the street he whirls, into the station house he 
goes. There he goes before the high rail and gives 
to a gruff lieutenant his name, address, occupation, 
and various other facts. Into a cell then, and he 
hears the ominous click of the lock as the doorman 
shuts him in. After a few hours' waiting the patrol 
wagon again gets into action and he goes to court. 
Here he is turned over to an entirely new machine 
and is taken in charge by the court officers. He 
stays in some sort of detention pen until his turn is 
reached ; probably OIK- or two shyster lawyers sym- 

42 Policeman and Public 

pathize with him and, for a sufficient emolument, tell 
him how easy it will be for them to clear him. Sud- 
denly he is haled before the judge and finds himself 
confronted again by the same policeman who took him 
into custody. The policeman's story is told ; he tells 
his story. The judge holds him for trial before a 
higher court. 

Behind the bars again, to stay there perhaps for 
months perhaps more than a year, unless he man- 
ages to find someone who will go bail for him so that 
he can be free pending trial. Then the appearance 
before another judge, the impaneling of a jury, the 
consultations with his own lawyer, the impatience 
when he feels that his case is not being handled as 
well as it should be; the intricate legal machinery 
with judge, stenographer, court officers, jury, spec- 
tators. And then the trial ends, and the jury may 
disagree and he have to go through the whole thing 
again, or he may be joyfully acquitted, or he may be 
found guilty and sentenced to go up the river for 
months or years. 

All this machinery, all this drab sequence of events, 
was started, or was not started, according to the 
decision of the policeman on the post as to whether 
or not he should make the arrest. If he makes the 
arrest, the whole operation must follow. It is as 
inevitable as is the roast beef when the steer first puts 
his nose inside the high gates of the packing-house; 

The Policeman as Judge 43 

or as is the little motor car when the bar of steel 
first is swung into place in the big factory. 

The policeman on post is in all truth the court of 
first instance; he is a de facto judge just as truly as 
any ermined magistrate, and a wise policeman can 
be guide, philosopher and friend as he carries onhis 
daily, hourly court. In some districts where foreign- 
born abound, a trusted inspector or captain makes 
the difference to whole neighborhoods between happi- 
ness and despair. The people bring him all their 
troubles, and he is wise and patient, settling out of 
court, without arrests, without cost or any loss of 
self-respect to the people, many a case that comes 
to him, in which a less humane officer would mechani- 
cally make an arrest. Yet he is strong and fearless 
in acting promptly, if action is needed ; he protects 
these people new to our shores, not merely from their 
own ignorance of our ways, but also from being 
preyed on by others. 

Uprightness in the policeman must be absolutely 
required just as much as in any other judge. It is 
vital that he should have the virtues which we require 
in judges. For there is no way of avoiding the situa- 
tion: the policeman is judge whether he will or no; 
whether you will or no. The moment he is given his 
shield, sworn into office, and sent out to fulfill the 
duties of that office, he thereby automatically becomes 
charged with judicial duty. We must ask ourselves, 

44 Policeman and Public 

then: "Is he a righteous judge, a wise, patient, high- 
minded judge, with the single purpose of doing his 
sworn duty as well as he can?" For that must be 
his sole purpose ; and it is so with many a policeman. 

We sometimes are tempted to believe otherwise 
to conclude that most policemen are unreliable be- 
cause we read or hear of the unworthy conduct of 
individual officers. It is just as unfair to judge the 
whole police body by the conduct of a few men as 
to judge the Army by the misconduct of separate 
individuals in it; or to conclude that all college stu- 
dents live fast, loose lives because we happen to know 
of a particular student who has been expelled for not 
taking his opportunities seriously enough. Most 
policemen, like most sailors, or clerks, or postmen, or 
engineers, or any other class of men, are respectable 
and well meaning. 

Their duties are peculiarly difficult, however, and 
important, and the public should support them. One 
essential element of public support is adequate pay. 
It cannot be expected in the long run that a large 
body of men will do work beyond what is paid for. 
Only if the policeman's salary is commensurate with 
the character of work that he performs is the public 
in a position to insist upon conduct and results that 
meet the requirements. 

Another essential is that the public shall have 
respect for the profession of policing, and show_this 

The Policeman as Judge 45 

respect by its attitude toward individual officers when 
they measure up to the_gt-*\P^ Mr/ ^- Just censure is 
wholesome, but indiscriminate faultfinding does little 
good. The public should demand and expect con- 
scientious, honest work from the police, should not 
tolerate anything else, and should treat cases of dis- 
honesty severely, yes, but as exceptions and not as 
samples of the character of all the colleagues of the 

Just as it would be ruinous to our whole judicial 
system if our judges were anything but single- 
minded, so is it ruinous and poisonous to our police 
system to have other considerations than plain duty 
and the proper performance of it affect the conduct 
of policemen. Suppose a judge could be relied upon 
to do his duty only if no interested friend reaches his 
ear, if no political consideration enters in, if no bribe 
is offered. Such things are conceivable, for human 
nature remains human nature, but every effort is 
made to prevent it, to protect the judiciary, to 
remove temptation from it, to throw around it a tra- 
dition of integrity, of single purpose, to distinguish 
it by a morale that will maintain the absolute integ- 
rity of the bench. Judges are respected, the com- 
munity believes in them, and by its belief buoys them 
up to the level of that belief. The result of this is 
that an unrighteous judge is visited with undiluted 
public scorn, for the very reason that the bench in 

46 Policeman and Public 

general is respected so highly that a single member 
who falls below the standard is known to be a glaring 
exception, and an especially reprehensible one, be- 
cause he sins against such a bright, clear light. 

In like manner, the public, realizing the judicial 
element in police work, must insist upon the highest 
standards of police conduct ; must safeguard the pro- 
fession, removing temptations, dignifying the work, 
giving proper reward, and, above all, showing the 
respect to members of police forces that is due to 
men who perform duties of this character. 


The People's Advocate 

BESIDES being in this way a judge, a policeman 
is also, in a very strong sense, a sort of people's 
advocate, on permanent retainer to represent the 
public interests against private intrusion on their 
rights. This is an aspect of police duty which is not 
commonly seen, and which police forces themselves 
probably realize only vaguely, if at all. 

To make this clear, let us take the example of a 
house owner who fails to clear his sidewalk of snow 
and ice within the period specified by city ordinance. 
The policeman represents the public, and it is his 
duty to force this private individual, the house owner, 
to clear his sidewalk so that the public shall not fall 
down and break arms and legs on its slippery surface. 
The police are retained by the public to do just such 
things as this in its interest; they are the part of 
the public to whom this special work is assigned. 

The officer on post goes walking up the street, 
notices the snow, and ruminates somewhat as follows : 
"Well, what do you think of that old man Hender- 
son hasn't got his snow cleared off! It's up to me. 

48 Policeman and Public 

Guess I ought to serve a summons on him by rights. 
He's always slow getting his snow off, and last month, 
was it, that old lady fell down and hurt herself so 
bad? Well, I guess I'll let it go this time. He's a 
good friend of mine; gives me a couple of Havanas 
every once in a while, and their kitchen and coffee 
are awful good on a cold night. Guess I'll let it go 
this time." 

Mr. Common Citizen comes along. But the officer 
whom he, as a member of the public, has hired to 
make walking along the street safe for him, has failed 
to perform that duty because the private interest 
represented by Mr. Henderson had done more for 
the officer than the public interests, which had never 
given him cigars or hot coffee and never had shown 
approval in any way when he did good work. Mr. 
Citizen therefore falls down and breaks a leg, or 
perhaps two. 

Or suppose that Mrs. Common Citizen has hired a 
taxicab and told the chauffeur to drive her to the 
ferry, explaining to him tersely that she is afraid 
there isn't much time because she had to see the cook 
before she left and couldn't do this before since the 
nurse had made a mistake and got the baby's milk 
wrong and she had to do it all over again and it is so 
annoying to have things go wrong! So the taxicab 
driver, once started, was trying to make the best time 
he could. Soon, however, he came to a block in the 

The People's Advocate 49 

street, at a place where traffic ran into a neck-of-the- 
bottle because over half the street was being used 
for the storage of construction materials and the 
making of cement by a builder who was putting up a 
large office building there. 

It helps not to have Mrs. Citizen fret and be- 
moan her hard luck inside the taxi; it helps not to 
have the chauffeur curse his hard luck, seeing his tip 
shrink in proportion as the minutes tick away. 

What is the trouble? Why is Mrs. Citizen held 
up at this bottle-neck? 

The trouble is that the police officer whom the 
/chauffeur and Mrs. Citizen, both members of the pub- 
I lie, hired to protect their rights against private 
I intrusion on them, has failed to require the builder 
I to use no more than the one-third of the street which 
Ihisjermit gives him the right to. No one, except 
the policeman, would know, or have any special busi- 
ness to know just how much of the street the authori- 
ties had given the builder the right to use. The 
policeman knows, however. It is his duty to allow 
no one to use the streets in this way without examin- 
ing his permit ; and then it is his further duty to 
require the builder to limit his operations in accord- 
ance with the express terms of the permit. If he is 
allowed to use one-third of the street between certain 
points, the policeman, in the interest of the public, 
must confine him to that particular one-third. 

50 Policeman and Public 

But the builder would be saved a lot of expense 
and enabled to get his work done more quickly if he 
could use a little more of the street. He is a pretty 
good fellow, and when the policeman comes to exam- 
ine the permit he talks with him in a friendly way, 
passes out cigars, and possibly something else; he 
repeats the pleasant dose on future occasions. Why 
should the policeman bother to keep that friend 
builder within the narrow limits of one-third of the 
street? What difference does it make anyway? 

Traffic held up? Yes, but the public doesn't seem 
to mind particularly, and if it does mind it doesn't 
blame the policeman. It just sort of complains 
against things in general, hard luck, and so on. It 
never has shown any indication of realizing that it, 
the public, is entitled to the use of a full two-thirds of 
that street at that place, and if it doesn't get such 
use, of knowing that the particular policeman on that 
particular post is responsible, and has shamefully 
neglected the duty he owes to his employer. Such 
a thought as that, true though it is, probably never 
entered the minds of either policeman or public, either 
employed or employer. 

Let us, again, follow Miss Common Citizen, on her 
way to school, as she passes through a street which 
seems to be always dirty and dusty. She is annoyed 
by the dust which, on windy days, whirls up in her 
face and hair, and she says to herself time and again : 

The People's Advocate 51 

"What a horrid, dirty city and what a horrid place 
a city is anyway; they can't seem to keep things 
clean. I wish I could always live in the country !" 

But here, too, a large part of the trouble is that 
Miss Common Citizen, as a member of the public, is 
not properly represented by the policeman whom she 
hires to be her advocate and see to it that private 
interests do not infringe on the public interests. The 
policeman whose post is along this street has never 
enforced the ordinance requiring people to sweep 
the dirt from their sidewalks before eight in the morn- 
ing, or whatever time the Street Cleaning Depart- 
ment goes around for its first cleaning. The result 
is that sidewalks are attended to after the street has 
been cleaned instead of before it, so when Miss Citi- 
zen walks down on her way to school, sidewalks are 
still being swept in front of some houses and have 
just been swept in front of some others, the dust 
being brushed temporarily into the street, free to 
blow back on the sidewalk, or up in the air, accord- 
ing as the elements move it. Xow, all this dust should 
have been swept into the street an hour or two before, 
so that when the street-cleaning people came along 
they would have garnered it and taken it away where 
it could never have blown into the young face of Miss 
Common Citizen or any of her sister members of the 
great public. 

The public employs the policeman, but it is an 

52 Policeman and Public 

unexpressive employer, and it doesn't seem to know 
the difference between good work and bad. Any mem- 
ber of the public would know the difference in two 
seconds between good and bad work on the part of his 
cook, or between good and bad work in almost any 
other way that work is done for him personally, but 
in cases where work is done for him, not as an indi- 
vidual, but as a member of the public, he does not 
seem to know, and perhaps has not any very good 
way of knowing whether the work is satisfactory or 
not. Not knowing, he does not seem to care. That 
is, he does not act as if he cared. So the policeman, 
not having his good work appreciated, and not fall- 
ing into trouble if he neglects the interests of his 
employer, very readily drops into the habit, prob- 
ably entirely without realizing it, of neglecting his 
real employer, the public, in the interest of the very 
people whom he should proceed against, the various 
private interests. For the private interests are 
human. They take note of the policeman's efforts 
when he helps them, and show their appreciation in 
a very pleasant manner. It is always satisfactory to 
work for those who appreciate what you do. 

This means a great deal in police work. If things 
are to go right the policeman must serve only the 
city the public ; he must not serve one individual 
against another, nor must he serve an individual 
against the public. Yet it is hard, it is against 

The People's Advocate 53 

human nature for an individual, the policeman in this 
case, to refuse good fellowship and cigars, perhaps 
also incurring personal enmity at the same time, and 
to do this for the sake of an impersonal, unhuman 
group that establishes no personal relationship with 
him ; that fails to make it hot for him if he neglects 
his duty; that seems on the whole not to realize just 
what his duty is. If the policeman always did what 
he should, and in the interest of his client the public, 
always restrained individuals who were overstepping 
their rights and therefore making things inconven- 
ient or worse for certain members of the public, he 
would gain no gratitude, no reward, from his em- 
ployer, and he would make accumulating enemies of 
those whom he restrained, even though the restraint 
were courteous and considerate. The public does 
not seem to feel collectively. When one sees a police- 
man taking into custody a person who has offended 
against the law, one is rather more apt, as an indi- 
vidual, to feel sympathy for the other individual, 
than as a member of the public to note with satisfac- 
tion the faithful work of the public's employee in 
enforcing the law against an offending private citizen. 
The policeman is just a plain, ordinary human 
being like the rest of us; the same traits mark him 
that mark us. He has to make his way in the trou- 
bled world just as all the rest of us do. Good friends 
are assets to any man to the policeman no less than 

,54 Policeman and Public 

to others. He can gather friends to his bosom by 
doing favors, personal favors, at the public expense. 
It all seems so natural. The ideal of service of the 
public is far away from the actual life of patrolling 
a post; and policemen may never gain the habit or 
even the conception of full service to an employer so 
cold,- so inarticulate and unappreciative ; for close at 
the officer's side, blurring his view of the public are 
friendly and grateful ones who ask for favors, and 
show themselves such bountiful fountains of appre- 

This is where the police administration should 
come in. It directly represents the public, and its 
function is to maintain in the force the spirit of ser- 
vice to the public, and devotion to the public inter- 
ests. If individual officers yield to the temptation 
to be derelict in performing their duty, the fault is 
with the aim and the discipline of the administration. 
In the broader sense, the head of a police force is 
that member of the public who happens to be chosen 
to secure for it such a conscientious performance of 
duty by the policemen of the city as shall ensure the 
proper guarding of the public interests against the 
depredations of those who would infringe on them for 
their own personal advantage. 


Methods of Law Enforcement 

X offlnpr rf thp law _ gfln^nf^enforce laws 
effectively unless he uses the best methods. One 
would not consider a surgeon capable of performing 
an appendectomy simply because he knew that this 
meant j-emoving the appendix. The surgeon is not 
capable until he has learned, not merely the anatomy 
of the parts ? but also the use of his tools, the tech- 
nique and best practice. In the same manner, jye 
should not expect that a policeman would be successj- 
ful in solving a murder case, for example, unless he 
knew something more than that "Homicide is the 
killing of one human being by the act, procurement 
or omission of another." He might also know that 
to "kill by the act" means to assault, shoot, or stab; 
to "kill by procurement" means to cause one person 
to kill another ; and to "kill by omission" means fail- 
ure to provide ordinary measures for the safety of 
others, .such as the failure of a builder to furnish 
safe temporary structures for his workmen to stand 
on, with the result that a workman falls and is 
killed. Knowledge of the law would point out to the 

56 Policeman and Public 

policeman what his duty is. but would not in itself 
help him much toward performing it in any but very 
simple cases. 

Like the surgeon the policeman must be taught 
method. In murder cases, for instance, thorough 
methods of procedure, worked out by practical men, 
will go far toward bringing the guilty man to the 
bar of justice. The tools used in New York in mur- 
der cases, packed in a bag, are ready at all times 
to be taken instantly to the scene of the crime. A 
murder kit contains the following articles: 

Complete fingerprint outfit 


Steel tape measure 



Sealing wax 



Small box of tools 

Soap and towel 

Stenographer's notebook 

Rubber gloves 

Bottle of antiseptic wash 






A stenographer and a photographer are likewise 
always on duty to accompany the detectives. 

These are the tools of the detective, the murder 
specialist. The ordinary policeman on post must 
also use the right method in murder cases. Upon 
arriving at the scene of the crime he must go about 
his work in a regular way so that he shall miss no 
chance to discover even the faintest clue to the 
criminal. The New York Department's instructions 
to officers are as follows : 

"The duty of the member of the force first arriving 
at the scene of a crime is to try to accomplish the 
three most necessary police duties : arrest the per- 
petrator; secure and safeguard evidence; get wit- 
nesses. Pending the arrival of the detectives, these 
duties devolve upon the uniformed man and he must 
do his work without detracting from the possibility 
of further investigation by the detectives. 

"Clear the room of all persons not in authority or 
without business there, and until the arrival of the 
detectives admit no one except the attending physi- 
cian, members of the Police Department, of the Dis- 
trict Attorney's office, of the Coroner's office, or of 
the Fire Department if explosives have been used. 

"Allow no one to touch or move anything in the 

58 Policeman and Public 

room, particularly the weapon, and do not touch 
anything yourself. This is important, for it will 
enable the Department's photographer to picture 
the body and the contents of the room in their 
original positions. No steps should be taken which 
would destroy or obscure evidence, and thus make 
the case more difficult for the detectives when they 
take hold of it. At the same time, however, the 
patrolman, being first on the scene, when the scent 
is fresh, may have opportunities to arrest the perpe- 
trator or get important evidence which might be 
entirely lost by the time the detectives get there, and 
he must not neglect that opportunity. 

"Get the names and addresses of all witnesses pos- 
sible. Separate them and listen to any statements 
they may make. Question them to ascertain which 
are the most important ones. 

"Speak to no outsiders about the crime. 

"The doctor should be requested not to destroy 
marks of evidence. For instance, if it is necessary 
for the physician to cut away the clothing in the 
region of a wound, he should be requested to cut 
around the rent in the garment and not through it. 

"When the detectives arrive, furnish them with 
any information you may have gathered and advance 
any suggestions you have for the solution of the 

"The one great obstacle in the past to smooth 

Methods of Law Enforcement 59 

police work on such cases has been the lack of sym- 
pathy between the uniformed force and the detec- 
tives, but this is fast being eradicated. Some 
uniformed men have been loath to assist the detec- 
tives by giving information because they have been 
made to feel by some detectives that a sharp line 
of demarkation exists. On the other hand, some 
patrolmen through envy feel that the detectives are 
butting in and stealing their cases and on this 
account withhold information. 

"As a result of this lack of co-operation, the arrest 
of the perpetrator, the securing and safeguarding of 
evidence and the procuring of witnesses is often not 
properly accomplished. Every member of the 
Department should remember that the biggest thing 
of all is to accomplish these three functions and that 
it can only be well done by team work. If one branch 
of the service is a success it reflects credit on the 
entire force, but if it is a failure it reflects only 
discredit on all." 

The policeman, to give another example, must be 
trained with scrupulous care in the technical methods 
of handling physical evidence, for many a case has 

been spoiled because some 
step has been neglected which was essential to prove 
that the article submitted in court as evidence was 
the same article found under certain conditions at 
the scene of the crime. A case happened where three 

60 Policeman and Public 

thieves were arrested, charged with robbing coin 
boxes belonging to the Telephone Company. The 
thieves tried to break away, and in their effort to 
escape one of them threw away a bunch of keys. 
These were picked up by the officer, taken to the 
station house, and turned over to the lieutenant in 

At the trial the introduction of the keys as evi- 
dence would have materially strengthened the case 
of the prosecution. It was impossible, however, to 
use them as evidence, since it could not be legally 
established that the keys picked up on the street 
and subsequently handed to the desk lieutenant were 
the same keys as those introduced in evidence. 

The officer had failed to observe the necessary 
procedure. He should have shown the keys to his 
commanding officer, telling him the circumstances 
under which he had obtained possession of them, and 
then, in the presence of the commanding officer, 
should have placed them in an envelope, sealed it, 
and written upon it his name and the date. The 
commanding officer should have signed his name also. 
In court, when the keys were to be offered in evidence, 
the officer whose name appeared on the envelope 
should have broken the seal and opened the envelope 
upon the witness stand ; after the hearing was closed 
he should again have sealed the keys up in the same 
way and signed his name. 

Methods of Law Enforcement 61 

Officers must be taught that tags tied to articles 
are not sufficient means of identification, for no wit- 
ness ean prove to the satisfaction of a court, even 
if the opposing lawyer is not particularly clever or 
insistent, that the tag is now tied to exactly the same 
article upon which he put it in the first place. If 
the piece of evidence is too bulky to be placed in an 
envelope, it should be tagged, but in addition to this 
the officer should place upon it some unremovable 
mark of identification, noting this mark in his memo- 
randum book, and showing it to his commanding 

The policeman, too, must be instructed thoroughly 
in the technique of fingerprints, for one careless 
or thoughtless act may destroy a bit of evidence 
without which the case cannot be solved. If a police- 
man, for instance, finds a revolver beside a dead body, 
he should either leave it untouched until the arrival 
of the detectives with the necessary materials for 
discovering fingerprints, or handle it in such a way 
as surely not to smudge any prints that may be on 
it, noting scrupulously the exact position of the 
revolver and returning it to that position exactly, 
when he has finished whatever he found necessary to 
do with it. 

62 Policeman and Public 

There is another aspect of methods of law enforce- 
ment that is far-reaching and of great import. 

The head of a police department is sworn to 
enforce the laws, and this means all the laws; he 
has no discretion in this. He cannot "administra- 
tively legislate," and such would be the case if he 
had, or assumed, the right to instruct his men to 
refrain from enforcing some particular laws, for such 
instructions would amount to annulling these laws. 
The police head may, however, and certainly should, 
prescribe methods of enforcement, so that the results 
aimed at shall be best attained, the spirit of the law 
best fulfilled. He would fail in his sworn duty to 
enforce all the laws unless he used his best judgment 
and gave careful instruction as to method. 

Nothing could be more important than that wise 
methods of law enforcement should be practised 
among the numerous foreign populations that are 
such striking characteristics of our large American 
cities. In New York there are some police precincts 
where those of foreign birth or foreign parentage 
number ninety per cent of the inhabitants. Many 
of them do not speak English, they live together in 
smaller or larger groups and keep to themselves, so 
that practically they have formed little settlements 
from the old country right here in our midst, and 
are sufficient to themselves. Their manners and 
customs are in many ways different from ours. They 

Methods of Law Enforcement 63 

are well disposed, law-abiding, well meaning. They 
have come to this country full of hope, full of eager- 
ness, with the intention of doing the right thing, 
but our speech and our ways are strange to them, 
and they know nothing of our enacted law. In try- 
ing honestly to do what they believe is right, they 
not infrequently violate our laws, especially our local 

A great deal depends upon the methods used by the 
policeman among this population. If the foreigner 
who is not conscious of having committed any offense, 
is treated harshly and arbitrarily by the policeman 
because of some omission on his part, the effect on 
him may be far more significant than one would 
dream. To many an immigrant the policeman is the 
whole United States Government; he is the only 
manifestation of government seen by the new arrival, 
who is not familiar with our constitution or our in- 
volved methods of ruling ourselves. All he knows is 
that it is a free country, that the people rule, and 
that the big man in blue is the one he must look to. 
The Board of Aldermen, Mayor, Judges, Governor, 
Legislature, Supreme Court, Secretary of War, 
President all for him are embodied in that uni- 
formed policeman. If the policeman is kind and 
patient, if he tries to help the foreigner learn the 
ways of the new land, tries to assist him when he is 
in trouble, helps him to find a job, shows him where 

64 Policeman and Public 

the children should go to school, directs him to the 
nearest health clinic, and, in case he breaks a law 
or two, explains to him just what he should and 
should not do and gives him another chance, the 
new arrival can not help absorbing the idea that 
the country he has come to is a benevolent country, 
that America is the land of his ideals, and he is ready 
to love it and serve it and fight for it. On the other 
hand, if the policeman is unfeeling, if he gives a surly 
answer to shrinking inquiries; if, the moment the 
immigrant unwittingly violates an ordinance, he is 
taken into custody, haled before a judge and perhaps 
fined a dollar or two, all for some offense which he 
has no knowledge of, and after an unfriendly, hostile 
procedure by unfeeling men what puzzled disap- 
pointment must be in this immigrant's heart ! He 
instinctive!}' knows he has done no real harm. What 
sort of government is it that deals out this kind of 
treatment for what was at the worst a trifling and 
unintentional offense? He is resentful. His chagrin 
is bitter at finding in the. land of promise about the 
same kind of officialdom that he hoped he had for- 
ever left behind him, and when people come along 
preaching resistance to Government, down with Gov- 
ernment, he lends a ready ear. The soil of his mind 
has been prepared to welcome and nourish that 
iniquitous seed. 

The power of the policeman for good or for evil 

Methods of Law Enforcement 65 

is great; one cannot but wonder whether harsh and 
unsympathetic performance of duty among strangers 
may not work more potently to breed discontent and 
anarchy than all the exhortations, and invocations, 
and denunciations of soap-box corner orators. 

In this aspect of his duties the policeman is an 
educator, just as truly as is the president of one of 
our large universities. To illustrate ; on August 26, 
1914, General Order No. 48 was issued to the Police 
Department of New York. It was entitled: 

"Keeping the Streets Clean" . 

and the introduction was as follows: 

"In order to accomplish the best results, the Police 
Department must work in close co-operation with the 
Health and Street Cleaning Departments. You will 
therefore give to officials of these two departments 
all proper assistance in carrying out their duties. 

"When you find violations of the ordinances rela- 
tive to keeping the streets clean, speak to the offender 
and try by warning and advice to cause him to cor- 
rect the conditions. 

"You will be doing the best kind of police work 
if you can correct violations and keep them corrected 
without making arrests. 

"The object is to keep the streets clean and health- 
ful, and this result can be obtained only by constant 

66 Policeman and Public 

In this order were enumerated some of the prin- 
cipal instances of street littering, and officers were 
told what kind of police action to take in order to 
cure the conditions. 

The end of the order read as follows : 

"Members of the force observing am* of the above 
violations will take such action as will correct the 
condition, but will not serve summons or make sum- 
mary arrests unless directed to do so by Commanding 

The conventional police method in matters of this 
kind 'was either to look the other way, or if any 
action had to be taken, to make an arrest or serve 
a summons. A patrolman, reproached by a superior 
officer for the unhealthful, untidy conditions of his 
post, could pretty well excuse himself if he could 
point to a record of having made a certain number 
of arrests or served a certain number of summonses. 

"I have done the best I could ; what can you expect 
with such people?" 

There was no responsibility put upon the police 
for bettering the conditions, for obtaining the results 
sought for in the ordinance, for bringing about by 
their work a wholesome, cleanly condition. All 
ordinances looked alike to the old-fashioned police- 
man. If any one was violated he automatically 
served a summons if he did anything, and that ended 
his full performance of duty. 

Methods of Law Enforcement 67 

The newer method forbids the policeman to make 
an arrest or to serve a summons except with the 
express approval of his commanding officer; and it 
requires him so to educate the people on his post that 
they will gradually acquire the habit of compliance 
with the ordinances, thereby keeping the street clean 
and healthful. The only weapon which the police- 
man used before that of taking into custody or 
summoning to court is denied him ; yet, without this 
weapon, he is required to accomplish far more than 
formerly, in that he must achieve the purpose of the 
ordinance, and cannot simply rest secure, having 
shed all responsibility by the serving of certain 
papers. He becomes a teacher of cleanliness, an 
educator of good habits ; he accomplishes the desired 
purpose, and does this without exciting resentment, 
and without causing inconvenience. He plays the 
part rather of helpful friend and guide than of 
avenging, implacable autocrat. 

Another situation that frequently calls for police 
attention, and that so often is accompanied by public 
disorder is a strike or industrial disturbance of any 
kind. In this matter, as in most others, much of the 
difficulty from the police point of view fades away 
under the light of clear understanding. If both sides 
to such a dispute are made to understand exactly 

68 Policeman and Public 

what their rights are and where these rights stop, and 
if they are convinced that the police can be relied on 
to enforce order, most of the usual troubles will never 
happen. The police can maintain order only if they 
are strong, and absolutely fair ; if they see to it that 
both sides understand what they may and may not 
legally do, and prevent both from acting illegally, 
especially from hiring gunmen to promote their 
own interests. Most of the disorder in connection 
with industrial disputes comes with the employment 
of private "detectives" by one side or the other. If 
the police do their duty, then there is no need of 
private guards, so if either side employs them the 
assumption is justifiable that violation of law is 
intended. Naturally, if the police are not able to. 
maintain order, or can be bribed by either side, then 
it is hard to blame people for looking out for their 
own interests as well as they can. 

In order to clarify this situation, Circular Order 
No. 19 was issued to the New York Force on June 
9, 1917, given wide circulation in the newspapers, 
and sent to the parties concerned when industrial 
disputes arose. 

"Circular No. 19. 


"The duties of the Police Department in connec- 
tion with strikes and industrial disturbances are, in 

Methods of Law Enforcement 69 

the last analysis, as on all other occasions, to protect 
Life and Property, and to maintain the Public Peace. 

"The particular steps to be taken and the number 
and distribution of the Force employed must, as a 
general rule, be left to the sound discretion and judg- 
ment of Commanding Officers. There are, however, 
certain broad rules and well-established principles of 
Law which govern cases of this kind, with which all 
should be familiar. 

"Unless otherwise advised by the Courts or Com- 
manding Officers, it is to be assumed that the 
purposes of a peaceful strike are legal. 

"Since such affairs are often accompanied by much 
bitterness and hard feeling on both sides, it is impera- 
tive that the Law be administered with the utmost 

"In so far as this Department is concerned, one 
or more employes may refuse to work, and one or 
more employers may refuse to hire any particular 
person, or persons, for such reasons as may seem to 
them best, or for no reason at all. The employes 
who have gone on strike may gather in front of one 
or any number of the places where they were formerly 
employed and address, within certain limits, such 
argument as they may desire to their fellow-workmen 
who are still employed, urging them to go on strike. 
Similar arguments may be addressed to those who 
they may have reason to believe are considering tak- 

70 Policeman and Public 

ing their former positions of employment either per- 
manently or temporarily as strike-breakers. The 
strikers or their s} r mpathizers may, also, advise 
prospective customers of the fact that they are on 
strike and the nature of their grievances be they 
real or supposed. The words used, in all such cases, 
however, must not be of such a nature as to incite 
to violence or offend public decency. 

"While both sides to such a controversy have the 
right of assembly, no violence or even physical con- 
tact between opposing factions shall be permitted. 

"The right of the strikers to conduct peaceful 
picketing has been upheld by the Courts, but the num- 
bers so employed must not be so great as to interfere 
with the free passage of vehicles or pedestrians, nor 
by their very number to constitute an intimidation. 
The number of pickets that may be lawfully per- 
mitted depends upon the circumstances of the case, 
such as the width of the street and the sidewalk, the 
number of employes who are working, the number 
and size of the exits to the building, the size of the 
building, and the number of neutral persons using the 
sidewalk or thoroughfare in question. 

"Members of the Police Department have no 
proper official interest in the merits of the contro- 
versy, and their action is not to be affected thereby. 

"In the handling of strikes, as in most other Police 
work, the best measures are those of a preventive 

Methods of Law Enforcement 71 

nature. Much trouble can be avoided if the Com- 
manding Officer will at the beginning of any strike, 
advise both sides as to their respective rights and 
duties. They should be strongly warned against the 
dangers resulting from the employment of known 
thugs or other persons apt to cause disorder. The 
apprehension and punishment of those who violate 
the law is the function of the Police Department, 
the District Attorney's office and the Courts, and 
cannot properly or lawfully be undertaken by 
private citizens." 

During the summer of 1916 there was a prolonged 
traction strike in New York City which went on for 
weeks, was "settled," and then went on for weeks 
again. It was said to be the largest transportation 
strike in numbers of men affected that has ever 
taken place in the United States, with the single 
exception of the strike of the American Railway 
Union some twenty-five years ago, in which there 
was gross disorder, and large numbers of men were 
injured and killed. During this New York strike 
there was no serious disorder, not a person was 
killed, and there were practically no bad injuries. 

What had been the position of the police force? 
The question whether cars were run was no concern 
of theirs. The question who won the strike, likewise 
could not interest them. Their duty, and their sole 
duty, was to maintain order, to protect life and 

72 Policeman and Public 

property, to ensure to all concerned the companies, 
the workers, the public the enjoyment of their full 
legal rights. 

Early in the strike the question was raised whether 
policemen should be assigned to ride on trolley cars. 
The police authorities stated that policemen would 
not be so assigned for the purpose of enabling the 
company to operate its cars, but if, in order to main- 
tain order, to protect the public, it should prove 
necessary to assign officers to cars, this would be 
done, and as many officers would be assigned to ride 
on each car as might be needed to preserve the peace 
and protect the public. The question came up also 
whether pickets should be allowed to accost old 
employees of the company who had not left its service 
or new ones who had been hired to take the place 
of strikers. The police answered that there was no 
law to prevent one man from talking to another on 
the street, no matter how near it might be to a car 
barn or other company building. Groups, even, 
might gather so long as they did not block the streets 
and thereby infringe upon the rights of other citizens, 
and so long as they did nothing that might tend to a 
breach of the peace. If such groups, however, even 
though consisting of only two or three men, became 
disorderly the police would take action. On the other 
hand, strikers were not permitted to talk to car 
crews, since if the attention of motorman or conduc- 


tor were diverted in this way from his work of operat- 
ing the car it would not be safe for the public, either 
for that part of it that might be bold enough to ride 
in the car, or those in the street, whether afoot or 
in vehicles. 

This police method of handling strikes, then, con- 
sisted simply in clearing away misunderstandings 
from the minds of all affected, and then, without 
favor, patiently, strongly, enforcing the law. 

Very similar methods were used by the police in 
connection with Free Speech and Free Assembly, 
with reference to which so much confusion has ob- 
tained, and so much disorder and hard feeling have 
been engendered in different parts of the country. 

During the spring of 1914 there was a great deal 
of unrest in New York. Bands of people out of work 
paraded through the streets and went to restaurants 
and churches, not asking for food, but demanding it 
as their right. Anarchistic meetings were held every 
Saturday afternoon in Union Square, growing 
steadily in numbers, in fervor of speech, and in men- 
ace of violence. On the afternoon of the first Satur- 
day in April it was clear that things were rapidly 
coming to a head: the police had made a number of 
arrests, there had been forcible resistance to officers, 
and police brawn had been used with resulting bruises 

74 Policeman and Public 

and bloodshed. The feeling was excited, defiant, and 
bitter. The threats were not disguised that since the 
police had "shown their hand," had started this 
trouble, had acted like agents of the capitalists, had 
refused to permit the inalienable right of free 
speech crowds would come next Saturday prepared 
to maintain by force the rights that the police had 
sought to take away from them by force. Bombs 
would answer clubs and revolvers. 

During the week that ensued the police administra- 
tion was changed, and the method of handling these 
meetings was radically altered. It was made clear 
to all the detectives who were going to be on duty 
the following Saturday, and to all the superior offi- 
cers of the uniformed force, exactly what they were 
to do and how they were to do it. It was pointed 
out that the crowd would undoubtedly be most pro- 
vocative; that many in it would try to make them- 
selves martyrs and desired nothing more ardently 
than to have the police assault them ; that they would 
tempt the police to take what would seem to be the 
initiative. It was explained to the police that their 
great effort should be to prevent trouble. If trouble 
should arise they were to suppress it, and to use 
whatever force might be necessary for suppression. 
But their aim was to be to prevent it from arising. 
In order to avoid any appearance of inviting trouble, 
only a few policemen in uniform would be in evidence ; 

Methods of Law Enforcement 75 

there would be no show of a small police army ready 
for trouble. Within immediately available distance, 
however, would be policemen enough to bottle up 
Union Square in a couple of minutes. 

One hundred detectives had been chosen, who were 
to be dressed like any other men who might be in the 
crowd. They were to be scattered around singly, on 
the watch for signs of violence so that they could 
nip any attempt in the bud. Beyond this, however, 
they were charged with the duty of radiating good 
nature, of trying to maintain an atmosphere of quiet 
and calm. For a smile is just as infectious as a sneer. 

The change of method was almost unbelievably 
successful. There was no disorder ; the crowd was 
very large but very well behaved, and at the end of 
the meeting when everything was over and many had 
gone home, three cheers were proposed and given 
for the police and for the old Chief Inspector, Max 
Schmittberger, who had been in personal charge. 

A fow weeks after this meeting there was another 
one, much smaller than that in Union Square, where 
events happened to shape themselves in such a way 
that unskillful methods of policing might have 
brought about a good deal of disorder, whereas the 
skillful way in which the single policeman on duty 
handled the situation completely averted it. Noon- 
day meetings were being held at Bowling Green Park. 
Some of these had been rather stormy, but no action 

76 Policeman and Public 

had been taken to stop them, since they were within 
the law. Unless it grows so large or gathers in such 
a location as seriously to interfere with traffic, on 
sidewalk or in street, or unless there is incitement to 
violence, a meeting is lawful, and the police are not 
merely to permit it but to see that it is not interfered 

On the day in question a good-sized crowd was 
being exhorted by an earnest young woman. The 
day was warm, the sun was shining, one of those 
grateful first days of spring which so gladden our 
hearts after a persistent, dreary winter. The sky 
was blue, the breeze gentle ; the men in the crowd were 
contented and good-natured. They had finished their 
lunch and were listening rather curiously and toler- 
antly to the orator, most of them placidly smoking. 
She was declaring that about everything connected 
with government was wrong; that rulers were slaves 
of capitalists ; that workers were slaves of rulers ; 
that the whole situation was intolerable and -should 
not be permitted ; that, in fact, most everything was 
wrong, and the only real way to right it was to listen 
to her, she would point out the way, then the people 
could rise in their might, smite their rulers, and 
run things. The crowd kept on calmly puffing at 
cigars and complacently enjoying the comfortable 
after-lunch feeling and the auspicious spring noon. 

A newcomer walking down Broadway joined the 

Methods of Law Enforcement 77 

crowd. Possibly he had had no lunch, or too much, 
for he seemed to take seriously the words of the 
speaker which were making no impression upon the 
others. He blurted out in a loud voice that if she 
didn't stop saying things like that he would make 
her! She answered tartly, for that was just the 
opportunity she wanted, a chance to start things, 
she hadn't been able to work the crowd up at all until 
now. The man was irritated by her reply, made a 
movement toward her, and announced that he would 
show her "what was what." 

At once the atmosphere changed. Men straight- 
ened up, took their hands out of their pockets, puffed 
cigars faster. Faces began to tighten. People 
moved in closer. The complacency of a few moments 
before had gone. Tenseness was replacing it. 

The policeman assigned to cover that meeting was 
standing on one side of the crowd; he too had been 
enjoying the weather and the warmth. He was com- 
fortably braced on legs spread apart at exactly the 
angle which would give him the best support and call 
for the least effort, swinging his night stick idly back 
and forth and giving no heed to the meeting, for, as 
an individual, he was not interested in the doctrine 
that was being expounded, and, as an officer of the 
law, nothing was happening which demanded his 
attention. With the change created by the coming 

78 Policeman and Public 

of the outraged citizen, -however, a new condition 

Stepping up to the objector the officer touched 
him on the shoulder and said pleasantly, "Come, my 
friend, you'll have to cut this out." 

"Cut nothing out ! Do you hear what she's saying, 
officer? Why don't you stop her? If you don't, I 

"Now see here," the policeman soothingly an- 
swered, "this here is her show. She isn't violating 
any law and as long as she don't I'm going to protect 
her in her meeting. If you want to hold a meeting, 
go over to the other side of the street there and I'll 
protect you too." 

This closed the incident. The objector walked off, 
the group of listeners went their several ways, smil- 
ing and amused, and the orator disappeared. 

Even if the policeman knows the laws and is skill- 
ful in his manner of enforcing them, he will not be 
effective as a member of a large force unless the 
organization methods are soundly planned and 
administered. An unorganized policeman would be 
of little value. Each man must know just what part 
of the job he is expected to do, how he is expected 
to do it, and where his duty fits in with the whole 
big organization. 

Methods of Law Enforcement 79 

An impossible situation would be created if ten 
thousand officers of the law were simply sent out into 
the street and told that they were to enforce all the 

What would be the result? Some localities would 
be overpoliced, some underpoliced, depending upon 
the distances from the different station houses. 

But this distinction would soon vanish, for in a 
very short time every policeman would be sitting 
comfortably in court, having apprehended a spitter, 
or a tardy sweeper of sidewalks, or an unlicensed 
dog owner, or a walker on park grass, or a too- 
youthful newsboy, or a sausage seller at ten-five 
a.m. on a Sunday morning, or a fruit dealer who sold 
an overripe apple, or a citizen who carried a lighted 
cigar (in his hand only) on the subway stairs, or 
perchance a poor overdriven mother who had filled 
her ash can up to within three inches of the top. 
It would be a fine crop of "criminals" in court; a 
grand sweeping up of petty offenders in a few sec- 
tions of the city. Their offenses had been apparent 
from the very fact that they were slight and usually 

At the same time that the police made a clean 
sweep of the streets near the station houses of these 
potty offenders, they swept the streets clean of them- 
selves also, leaving a clear field for operations by 
major offenders, whose offenses, for the reason that 

80 Policeman and Public 

they are very much more serious, are therefore more 
deliberate, hidden, and not apparent to the casual 
policeman. The traditional small boy would be 
arrested, while the hold-up man could do as he 

It is an administrative falsehood to state that a 
police officer can go out and enforce all the laws 
impartially. As between offenders there must of 
course be no partiality ; rich or poor, black or white, 
all must look alike to the officer of the law. As 
between offenses, however, there must be distinct 
partiality. The patrolman must be partial to the 
woman with the full ash can, for her offense was 
slight, but he must give no quarter to the burglar. 
And if he is not partial to the small offender he 
thereby, whether he knows it or not, is partial to the 
big offender, because if he takes himself and the 
owner of the unmuzzled dog off the street, he thereby 
offers free opportunity to the felon. 

There are only a given number of policemen in any 
city. They must be used with skilled, conscientious 
judgment in the service of the public. They must 
be assigned to the various quarters of the city by 
such methods, and in such numbers as shall insure to 
each district its fair quota. They must also be 
assigned in squads, small or large according to the 
needs, with the duty of specializing in certain par- 
ticular crimes or in certain special localities where 

Methods of Law Enforcement 81 

crime is becoming rampant. These men cannot fulfill 
the purpose for which they are assigned if they allow 
themselves to be diverted from the quarry on whose 
scent they have been started, in order to turn aside 
after some victim who is comparatively far less 
dangerous to the public. 

The organization must be for the sake of the work ; 
often we find it rigged the other way, the work being 
made subordinate, and being neglected unless it hap- 
pens to be covered by the particular methods of pro- 
cedure that have been ordained. The distribution 
of duties must cover all the work to be done, at the 
same time avoiding the clash of one man's job with 
another's. Responsibility must be definitely placed, 
by clear and specific orders, and adequate discretion 
and power should go with it. Each officer must be 
respected and supported in his task; his superior 
must not cut under him, must not give directions 
over his head. If he fails to perform his duty 
properly he can be removed, but so long as he is 
retained in his position he should be recognized as 
responsible, his subordinates should be dealt with 
only through him, they should not be changed except 
with his consent; he should be called to account for 
their faults and be given credit for their merits. He 
should be made to feel that his position is his as long 
as he fills it capably, and that success in it will lead 
to something higher. And the whole arrangement 

82 Policeman and Public 

and administration of things should be such as will 
bring out the men's best efforts, giving them pride in 
their profession and their own particular niche in 
it, and bringing home to them the great truth that 
there is no satisfaction more profound and permanent 
than that of difficult duty ably done. 

Esprit de Corps 

THERE are many influences in police life which 
insidiously, yet continually, operate to lower 
the tone and sully the standards of the men. Some 
of these influences which have a surprisingly potent 
effect, might seem insignificant to a superficial view. 
Some of them, particularly, have to do with the con- 
tact between police and public and ought therefore 
to be better understood. 

To illustrate, consider what might seem a small 
matter the question of politeness. It is a pleasing 
and comforting thing to have a polite police force; 
it means a great deal to the public. It means a 
great deal also to the force, for persistent politeness 
breeds a pleasant spirit within. 

We are very ready to complain when we find a 
discourteous policeman. We feel that even though 
perhaps we cannot expect policemen to be possessed 
of wide education and profound learning, yet we can 
demand at least that they shall be reasonably cour- 

When a citizen is spoken to gruffly or rudely by a 

84 Policeman and Public 

traffic officer, he is properly indignant, and is right 
in feeling that the officer has no business to speak 
that way. This is true, and the indignation is justi- 
fied, but should it not be remembered also that very 
likely the last few drivers the policeman had to speak 
to were surly individuals, who would not have thought 
he meant what he said unless he had used some crude, 
strong brand of emphasis? The traffic man is ex- 
pected not only to enforce the regulations upon the 
roughest, most reckless specimens who may be driv- 
ing along the street, and enforce them strongly and 
effectively, but he is expected also, very likely within 
the next few seconds, tenderly and courteously to 
help a feeble, timid old lady across the street. It is 
asking a good deal of human nature always to adjust 
itself to such changes quickly and with unruffled 
equanimity of temper. 

In very many cases the public does not help the 
policeman much; people often show little under- 
standing and frequently they seem to expect special 
consideration. One day a new plan was being tried 
out in Times Square in the hope that people afoot 
would submit to being regulated a bit in the interest 
of their own personal safety. On one corner an 
officer had been stationed to keep pedestrians from 
trying to cross while the traffic was still in motion ; 
for the tendency of Americans is to take chances 
among moving vehicles, in the calm confidence that 

Esprit de Corps 85 

the crossing will be made safely, somehow; it irks 
them to wait behind the restraining arm of the police- 

The traffic had just started up and the officer held 
out his arm to stop a woman who was stepping 
unconcernedly out among the moving wheels : "Just 
one moment, lady ; it isn't safe to go across now." 

The lady was indignant : "I choose to cross now. 
If it isn't safe stop those motors long enough for me 
to go." 

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I must ask you to wait 
until that officer out there stops this north and south 

Shortly after this, the traffic stopped; the officer 
lowered his arm and, smiling with relief, said : "Now, 
lady, it is all right." 

"Huh, anybody can go across now!" she retorted, 
and swept on her way. 

It happened that a few days after this the Police 
Commissioner received through the mail a five-cent 
piece, which had been sent by another woman living 
in Connecticut, asking that it be returned to the kind 
policeman in Times Square (describing the man) who 
had helped her so much and had loaned her carfare 
the day before when she ran out of money in New 

We are right in expecting courtesy, but we are 
often wrong in allowing ourselves to be impatient 

86 Policeman and Public 

when individual policemen err. We must remember 
that the very job we hire the policeman to perform 
brings him in close contact with the worst elements in 
the community. He has to deal with chronic drunk- 
ards, moral perverts, yeggmen, sneak thieves, drug 
fiends, crazy men; we hire him to do just that, to 
protect us from peril of unprincipled outlaws and 
irresponsible mental defectives. He must know all 
about such persons and about their ways, or he can- 
not keep them from assaulting and robbing and gen- 
erally bothering us. This sort of contact doesn't 
especially help to develop, in the policeman, gentle- 
ness in thought and speech; in fact, it can hardly 
help having a contaminating, lowering effect upon 
him. He sees sordid sides of life that most people 
do not realize the existence of, and he has to do 
his work, month in and month out, without much 
respite, among these conditions. 

It behooves good citizens, therefore, to be patient, 
if they see in an individual policeman some of the 
unpleasant effects of his association with the very 
people he is hired to keep in order. If the public 
will unfailingly treat the policeman with the polite- 
ness which it expects from him, some of the bad 
effects of his contact with the dreary, outcast sides of 
life will be neutralized. This cannot be too strongly 
emphasized, and its value in nourishing the self- 
respect and the respectful conduct of our officials is 

Esprit de Corps 87 

very appreciable. It will be a better policeman in 
every way that has his intercourse with the under 
world mitigated by a natural, friendly relationship 
with those whose vital interests he is guarding. 

So while the public should persist in demanding 
politeness from its policemen, it should also take into 
account the way their tasks must try their tempers 
and mar their manners and make allowances. 

Policemen are brave. There is a departmental 
instinct of courage. This spirit is maintained by the 
morale of the men, by the traditions of the job. A 
man joining the force quickly catches the feeling 
that it is no place for a coward; that life would not 
be worth living if he should acquire a reputation for 
cowardice. In a sense he dares not be afraid. This 
is a subtle influence which must be jealously guarded, 
for it is vital to success in police work. 

The policeman is exposed to danger in ways that 
are not commonly realized. It is danger of a differ- 
ent kind, for instance, from that which the soldier 
faces. Troops on the battle line run terrific risk 
from the enemy in front of them ; they are shot at 
with rifle and machine gun; they are smothered with 
poisonous gases; artillery, light and heavy, pounds 
their position. It seems impossible that human 
beings could exist through such tornadoes of attack. 

88 Policeman and Public 

The soldier, however, knows his enemy, knows how 
he fights, usually knows about when an attack is 
coming; he is ready for it, and armed to resist it. 

The policeman, on the other hand, does not know 
who may be his enemy, and he must not be too quick 
to conclude that anyone is hostile, for he is liable to 
severe penalties if he uses force when it is not abso- 
lutely necessary, in self-defense, or to make an arrest. 
He is a peace officer and would make himself absurd 
if he appeared warlike, or if he took too many pre- 
cautions; yet often dangerous criminals and even 
assassins do not reveal their hideous purpose until 
too late to thwart it. 

One spring morning, for instance, a bicycle police- 
man was patrolling his post in the northwestern part 
of Manhattan Borough. It was very early; no one 
was about in that part of the city except a few milk- 
men. The policeman had for some months been 
under treatment for heart trouble, and after explain- 
ing his case to the Police Commissioner, had been 
transferred from motorcycle duty, with its risks and 
the excitement of chasing motor speeders, to this 
quiet residential quarter, where there was seldom 
trouble and seldom excitement. It was his third day 
in the precinct. 

As he came slowly down the avenue he noticed an 
automobile stationary at the curb ahead. On draw- 
ing nearer he thought that the license number was 

Esprit de Corps 89 

that of a lost car which his platoon had been notified 
to watch out for, when they went on duty at mid- 
night. A young man and a girl were standing beside 
it, about to get aboard. 

"Just a moment, sir," he called out, "I want to 
take a look at that car." 

The only answer was a shot. He was hit in the 
shoulder and knocked down. While down, he pulled 
his own gun and fired, but the thief had shot him 
again, in the hip, had jumped into the car and started 
up the avenue at high speed. The policeman tried, 
but could not follow. 

He lingered in the hospital a few weeks, full of 
courage, full of gratitude to those who tried to help 
him. Then he died. A noble life had been spent in 
the effort to recover a stolen motor car. 

This sort of danger the police officer is exposed 
to on every hour of duty. He cannot accost citizens, 
pistol in hand; he takes a chance, and too often has 
to pay the penalty. How can he tell that the harm- 
1< >>-looking ana j mic man who is approaching him 
apparently to ask a question is a drug lunatic, a 
"charged up dope," as the vernacular has it? How 
can he know that in another minute he will be fight- 
ing for his life with a creature superlnnnanly strong 
and superhumanly cunning? Even when they know 
what sort of men they have to deal with the bravest 
and handiest officers might easily be nervous and 

90 Policeman and Public 

uncertain of themselves with dope fiends, for there 
is no telling what their moods may be, and their 
powers often seem unnatural. 

+ It sometimes seems to policemen that the public 
takes it all for granted, that no one knows or cares 
what risks they run. Yet, without the purest quality 
of physical courage, a police force could not fulfill its 
purpose, and the public should realize this, and be 
quick to foster the spirit by recognizing its exist- 
ence in the force, and by showing that, although 
bravery is taken for granted in policemen, it is also 
applauded and generously rewarded. 

With the tradition of courage in police forces has 
been developed the coordinate tradition of standing 
together. This also is a glorious tradition, and is 
essential to successful work. It fosters team play; 
it engenders mutual helpfulness ; it adds to an indi- 
vidual the strength of all his comrades who may be 
within hearing distance ; it gives to each policeman a 
sense of confidence which at times on lonesome posts 
he might not otherwise feel, for every man knows that 
if he blows his whistle or raps on the pavement with 
his night stick, any brother officer within hearing 
will come running to his aid. Though out of sight, 
he knows that blue-coated helpers are within hearing 
and that they will come at the call of danger. 
^- It is difficult for civilians fully to grasp what it 
means to be on a post by oneself, armed with night 

Esprit de Corps 91 

stick and revolver, and to realize that single-handed 
one must cope with any trouble that comes along, 
even with a group of criminals who would not stop at 
murder to carry out their purpose. The policeman 
is alone during most of his official life, and he could 
not begin to do his duty were it not that his profes- 
sion compels courage and that the brand of com- 
radeship between him and his brother officers is of 
such a high, helpful character. 

Unfortunately we find in police forces, that 
whereas the dangers and the lonesomeness of the work 
develop clean physical courage and an unflinching 
spirit of standing together, yet something has a 
thoroughly bad effect upon the moral courage of 
the men. It is not fair to assert, as has been done, 
that moral courage in police forces is as definitely 
absent as physical courage is strikingly present; we 
must not blink at the fact, however, that the moral 
tone of many American police forces is low. 

The way in which policemen could always prove an 
alibi when they got into trouble has been rather a 
joke. There were sure to be brother officers who 
would swear they were somewhere else, doing some- 
thing else. 

It makes a serious situation when police officers 
can not be believed in court. In many cases a 
trial resolves itself simply into the word of the 
officer against that of the defendant. If the judge 

92 Policeman and Public 

or jury feels that the sworn testimony of the officer 
of the law cannot be believed, justice may become 
only skilled guesswork. The policeman must be 
reliable, must speak the truth, the whole truth and 
nothing but the truth. The public should never be 
satisfied until the character of the men and the effect 
of the leadership are such that the individual police- 
man can be believed when he testifies. 

A few years ago a deputy commissioner in New 
York on a trip of inspection found asleep in bed, with 
most of his clothes off, the lieutenant who should 
have been in full uniform on duty behind the desk. 
This lieutenant was brought to trial. The deputy 
commissioner testified that upon failing to find any 
lieutenant at the desk he had gone upstairs to the 
room assigned to lieutenants, which was dark, the 
gas not being lighted. The lieutenant was in bed 
asleep. This testimony was corroborated by that 
of another lieutenant, who was accompanying the 
deputy commissioner. 

The defendant took the stand, was solemnly sworn 
to tell the truth, and testified that whereas he was 
not behind the desk and was upstairs in his bedroom, 
yet the gas was lighted, he was not asleep, was not 
lying in bed, but was sitting on the edge of the bed, 
bathing his feet in hot water, as he had been in- 
structed to do in the hope of warding off an incipient 

Esprit de Corps 93 

In speaking about policemen's untruthfulness, a 
veteran policeman made the remark: "Why, we had 
to lie. Nothing else was safe. It was a case of self- 
protection ; if anything went wrong we were always 
made the goat. We were never believed anyway, so 
the only thing to do was to make out the best story 
we could. The bosses expected us to lie. They 
would have had paralysis if we didn't." 

There can be no question about the improvement 
in the tone of police forces in the past few years, 
just as there can be no question as to the improve- 
ment of the tone of public life in America. The evil 
tradition persists in police forces, however, for the 
profession makes men cautious and suspicious, and 
they are apt to follow the old methods unless they 
are confident it is safe to be truthful. 

Example as well as experience corrupts them. 
Even nowadays policemen may see lawyers in good 
standing at the bar, carefully framing perjured 
vidence. They also see judges listening to the 
whispers of influential friends of the accused and 
guiding their judicial conduct accordingly. They 
have the personal experience of being offered bribes 
to be false to their sworn duty. All this miserable 
business has been a larger part of their lives than 
it is of the lives of perhaps any other class of 
men in the community, and its tendency is to 
make flabby the moral fibre; to blur the distinctions 

94 Policeman and Public 

between right and wrong; to make them believe that 
unworthy conduct, low motives, grossly utilitarian 
principles, stealing and cheating under the protec- 
tion of counsel, are far more common in the world 
than other people believe them to be. 

Truth-telling is a basic quality. Police forces can- 
not render proper service to a city unless they are 
sound in this fundamental. 

One point about this, to which the public is not 
apt to give full weight, is the fact that, though sin- 
ning, the untruthful policeman is also sinned against, 
for often the conditions under which he works make 
truth-telling dangerous. There has been a notable 
improvement in this in New York; the men have 
learned that they could rely on the good faith and 
fairness of the administration, with the result that 
when the disciplinary trial day came round, instead 
of having an unbroken succession of "Not guilty" 
pleas, from guilty as well as innocent, with a room- 
ful of defending lawyers, the calendar would be run 
through with some ninety per cent of pleas of guilty, 
the defendant policeman, unrepresented by counsel, 
simply stating the facts and whatever excuses he 
might have, in confidence that he would be justly 
treated by the deputy commissioner sitting in judg- 

The bravery of policemen is so genuine and splen- 
did, and their support of each other, no matter how 

Esprit de Corps 95 

menacing the physical danger, so inspiring, that one 
cannot but feel that these perversions of the spirit 
are unnatural, forced growths, which must inevitably 
be sloughed off as intolerable and inconsistent, leav- 
ing a body of men, brave as lions, true to each other, 
and true to the highest standards of honor. 


Reward and Punishment 

THE great aim of policemen, like most people, 
is to get ahead in the world. They want pro- 
gressively better pay; they want promotion. Now, 
promotion in a police force, as in any other body of 
human beings, should come to those who have shown 
themselves most deserving of it and best qualified to 
fill the higher positions. When the head of a police 
department appoints a new captain, for instance, 
he should pick the one man among the lieutenants 
who, by his work, has shown himself the most likely 
to make a good captain. The qualities most needed 
in a commanding officer are integrity, loyalty, the 
power of leadership, initiative, aggressiveness, cour- 
age, and it is natural to expect that men would be 
promoted from lower to higher grades in accordance 
with the degree of these indispensable qualities which 
in the performance of duty they have shown 
themselves to possess. 

In forces where promotion is made according to 
civil service systems nothing of this is true. A man 
attains promotion without any reference to the 

Reward and Punishment 97 

quality of his day-by-day work. It makes no differ- 
ence whether the patrolman on post in front of your 
house is always on duty, never yielding, no matter 
how rough or bleak the weather, to the temptation 
of going inside for a few minutes, always alert for 
suspicious characters, always polite and kindly with 
women and children, always watchful to help people 
across the street so that they shall not run any risk 
of being knocked down by motor cars, always ready 
to answer questions, that patrolman, in spite of 
the very high grade of work he does week after week, 
month after month, year after year, stands no better 
chance for promotion because of this work than a 
brother officer who may be only two or three blocks 
away, who ducks into a hospitable kitchen as soon as 
he can after the sergeant has gone by, who never 
bothers about helping people, who lets things run 
their own course, who turns the other way or around 
the corner if it looks as though he might be called 
upon to take some kind of action, who does, in short^ 
just as little police work as he can possibly do and 
yet keep out of trouble. The first of these two men, 
anyone will say, is the man who should be promoted ; 
the second should certainly not be promoted and 
should probably be dismissed. 

Yet the second, by study and he may have more 
time for study than the other man, by stealing it from 
duty may pass a better examination ; may have 

98 Policeman and Public 

what is, according to the civil service system, counted 
as an advantage, a few extra years of service; may 
have stopped a runaway one day with witnesses pres- 
ent and received a departmental reward, and may 
easily land on the list a hundred places higher than 
the other. For the civil service method usually takes 
into consideration only three things : seniority ; 
record as shown by fines received as departmental 
discipline and by awards received for deeds of 
courage ; success at passing a written examination. 

Seniority gives a higher rating to the man who has 
been longer on the job. The theory of this must be 
that if one man has been patrolman for ten years and 
the other for only five, the ten-year man would make 
a better sergeant than the other. There seems to be 
not the slightest warrant for this conclusion. If 
anything, the man who has been longer in the grade, 
who has failed to get promotion in spite of more 
chances, is less fit for promotion than the younger 
man. Many a young, active, capable man fails of 
promotion simply because he has not plodded along 
the pavement as long as someone else. 

The man's record, if it were really a record of his 
actual performance of duty and reflected the kind 
of work he had been doing, should be a dominant 
factor in determining promotion. If his record 
showed what kind of policeman he was, whether con- 
scientious, loyal, honest, aggressive, courteous, or 

Reward and Punishment 99 

not then it would be a real record. However, the 
record shows nothing of this. Until within the past 
few years in New York nothing has counted in 
favor of a man except duly attested deeds of bravery. 
In other words, the only way a man could get good 
marks on his record was by stopping a runaway, 
saving a drowning man, rescuing someone from a fire, 
and being able to prove that he had done so. 

Bravery is the commonest quality in the force. 
A deed of bravery is done by a policeman, not because 
he is braver than other policemen, but because he 
happened to have the opportunity. There is not a 
man who would not take risks of being hurt badly 
for the sake of making a rescue. It is a matter far 
more of lucky opportunity than of distinguishing 
physical courage. It is in a way an accidental ele- 
ment in a man's record, showing that some men had 
chances that others did not, rather than that some 
men were braver than others. 

A few years ago in addition to this the Civil Ser- 
vice Commission in New York City was persuaded 
to give recognition to commendable deeds of police 
service which did not necessarily involve physical 
courage. As a result of this change a detective 
could receive commendation if after weeks of 
resourceful, tireless work he ran down a master 
criminal; or a patrolman might receive an award if, 
after careful thought, he made a suggestion to the 

100 Policeman and Public 

Police Commissioner which was new and which would 
help the efficiency of the force ; or a policeman might 
be helped in his chances for promotion if, while 
on responsible duty, he remained steadfast, proof 
against bribe, proof against the wiles of those who 
sought to remove him from his post, firm in perform- 
ing his duty exactly as it should be performed. This 
has been a move in the right direction. It is far, 
however, from even beginning to meet the evil situa- 
tion, for the system is not comprehensive, it is largely 
a matter of opportunity, and there is no certainty 
that proper recognition will be given to a man who 
just steadily and unwaveringly does his regular 
duty to the best of his ability, without having any 
particular things occur which stand out and can 
bring particular commendation. It might happen 
that the reputation such a man would acquire in 
the neighborhood would even lessen his chance of 
being called upon to quell trouble, since his name 
as a fearless, capable officer would tend to prevent 
such things from happening on his post. 

The only things that blacken a man's record are 
the number of days' pay he has been fined as the 
result of appearing on charges before the trial 
deputy commissioner. These penalties should cer- 
tainly be given consideration. They are, however, 
merely one factor in the record, though in many cases 
they become a disqualifying one. A fine of thirty 

Reward and Punishment 101 

days' pay would probably mean that the unfortu- 
nate man could not get promotion, at any rate for 
years, yet the fine may have been unjust or, although 
just, unduly severe; or in spite of the fine, assuming 
that it was wholly deserved, that patrolman may 
nevertheless, on account of his other qualifications, 
be excellent timber for promotion. At best, fines on 
a man's record are casual, are in large measure acci- 
dental. As a method of grading, they are not com- 
prehensive, since they cannot impartially and by the 
same standard affect every man on the force. They 
fail glaringly to separate the sheep from the goats. 
For besides searching out and smirching the record 
of many a man who yet merits advancement, they 
fail to search out and record large numbers of those 
who are unfit to be promoted and perhaps even to 
stay on the force. If a policeman can avoid being 
brought up on charges and fined, it is no matter how 
poor his work is. His superiors may know he shirks, 
his comrades may be fully cognizant of his loafing, 
don't-care methods, the neighborhood may suspect 
both his integrity and his competence, yet if he can 
steer his slipshod course so as to avoid fines, his 
official record is just as unsullied as that of the most 
conscientious patrolman on the force. 

This method of record keeping, therefore, and the 
system of using such a record as part of the civil 
service test for promotion mean, practically, that 

102 Policeman and Public 

excellence or mediocrity of police work does not affect 
priority of promotion. 

How can the public expect that policemen will 
show a persistent devotion to duty when such per- 
sistence profits them not at all except as they are 
spoken to with approval by the still small voice? 
How can the public blame a policeman for being lazy 
and neglectful, for shirking duty, for stealing as 
much time from his job as he can if, as is the case, 
such conduct does not interfere with his getting the 
reward of promotion? Is he not almost justified in 
feeling that, in a way, the stamp of official approval 
is placed on such conduct, inasmuch as it is not made 
a hindrance to the goal of his ambition? 

The third element in the civil service test is a writ- 
ten examination, which is given, not by the police 
authorities, but by a special commission. Such an 
examination is useful, stimulates study, and, although 
there is always a large element of luck in examina- 
tions, can show much of the comparative knowledge 
of laws, regulations, procedure, etc., on the part of 
the different candidates. As far as it goes it is a 
valuable criterion. If the written examination could 
be considered in connection with real records of the 
men's regular performance of duty it would be of 
distinct rating value. As it is, however, the examina- 
tion puts a premium on the student policeman over 
the practical policeman ; further, unless conducted in 

Reward and Punishment 103 

an elaborately scrupulous way by incorruptible 
examiners it makes the way easy to bribery, and 
taints the whole system. 

This is the way a policeman is graded. This is 
the only method of attaining his great ambition. 
For promotion brings with it not merely the distinc- 
tion of higher rank and the welcome larger pay 
check, but also the certainty of a larger pension 
upon retirement. And promotion seems to come, 
not to the man who has shown his courage, his stal- 
wart honesty, his strong initiative, his power to 
handle men, and his zeal in doing his whole duty, but 
to the man who has been longer on the job, who, 
though shirking and shiftless at his daily work, 
managed to avoid departmental discipline, and who, 
by the help of hired professional tutors, wrote a 
juvtty good examination. The public, therefore,\ 
must not complain if few of its police servants prove I 
to be of the earnest, hard-working, resourceful type, 
for it fails to hold out effective inducement to them. 

The situation is as if the general manager of a 
large industry were to gather together his thousands 
of workers and address them as follows : 

"Fellow Citizens : I have called you here this after- 
noon to make clear to you just what it is that this 
company expects of you, and to explain to you how 
you should conduct yourselves in order to have the 

104 Policeman and Public 

best chance of getting more salary and more 
responsible positions. 

"Watch the clock carefully and don't begin a 
moment before the hour or keep on a moment after. 
Do your work well enough to avoid complaint, but 
don't put any more thought or time on it than is 
necessary simply to keep you out of trouble. 

"If you have any extra time, and you will have it 
as soon as you learn how little you can do and still 
'get by,' take a nap or gossip with the other men 
around you. 

"Keep out of trouble ; I can't impress this on you 
too strongly. And you are just as likely to get in 
trouble by trying to do too much as you are if you 
do too little, and perhaps a little more so. 

"Always have a good excuse ready and usually you 
will find it works. If you don't know any good ones, 
ask one of the older hands here and he will give you 
some cracker- jack excuses that have stood the test 
of time. 

"When we promote people here we don't pay any 
attention to the kind of work they have done, or how 
regular and faithful they have been on the job; in 
fact, we wash our hands of the whole business ; we 
don't want to be bothered with it. We don't think it 
makes any difference whether we promote the best 
men among you or the worst. 

"So some outsiders come in who don't know much 

Reward and Punishment 105 

of anything about our work here, it is true, but they 
will give you an examination and it will be a pretty 
good one. They will also find out how long you have 
been here and whether you got in one or two special 
kinds of trouble that the older hands will explain to 
you how to keep out of, and they will ask also 
whether you have saved anyone's life or done any- 
thing of that kind that people have talked about; 
then they will go off and after three or four or five 
months will send us in a list. 

"We will take the men in order from the top of the 
list, no matter what we know about them; no matter 
whether we know some of those high up are no good 
and some of those low down are the best in the con- 
cern. It is a funny sort of system, isn't it, but it 
goes !" 

A good deal has been said, with reference to the 
administration of police forces, to the effect that the 
head of the force has not power enough over the men. 
He should have, it is often contended, greater powers 
of discipline, easier ways of getting rid of men who 
are not fit to be policemen, yet who cannot legally be 
discharged through the existing methods. Not 
much emphasis has been laid on the other side of the 
question, upon the lack of power of the Police Com- 
missioner to reward men for good work. 

There must be discipline. The Commissioner must 
have power to take proper disciplinary measures 

106 Policeman and Public 

against those members of the force who have been 
dishonest or who have shirked. Of far greater impor- 
tance is it, however, that he should have the power 
to reward the men who have done good work, that he 
should be able to make it clear to all that the good 
things of the job, the things they all want, are things 
they can attain by performing their duty conscien- 
tiously. If a Police Commissioner had some approach 
to an adequate power of reward he would not need 
to bother about his power to punish. You will have 
but mediocre performance of duty in any organiza- 
tion if you withhold reward and are free only with 
punishment. If you reverse the tables, however, and 
are liberal with reward you will find that there will 
be comparatively little occasion for punishment. In 
forces where good work is regularly recognized and 
rewarded it is thereby encouraged to such an extent 
that it becomes the characteristic of the force, and 
a morale is developed which animates every member 
to do the kind of work that has brought praise and 
substantial recognition from superiors and the com- 
munity. No really fine results were ever achieved 
by men whose only incentive was fear of punishment ; 
and it can probably be said categorically that credit- 
able work will always be done in an organization 
where it is prevailingly recognized and generously 
rewarded. Police forces suffer from the stagnation 
of lack of incentive. The men see no reward for 

Reward and Punishment 107 

effort. The only surprise that the public is justified 
in expressing is that the quality of the work is as 
high as it is, considering the absence of inducement. 

How should this reward be given? What change 
should be made in the civil service system of promo- 
tion? For admission to the force probably no one 
would contend that the system should be changed. 
It is undoubtedly about as good a method as any 
other for picking out qualified candidates, for the 
men come from all walks of life, and seemingly from 
every profession, trade, and job there is. No com- 
parative record could be obtained, nor could the 
judgment of employers fairly be used to distinguish 
between one man and another, since there might be 
a thousand different employers for a thousand 
applicants, and as many varying standards as 

Promotion, however, is different. Candidates for 
promotion have all worked on the force, they have 
all been doing police duty, they have all had the 
chance to show whether they are good at it or not. 
It is possible to find out whether they have been 
faithful policemen or unfaithful, whether they have 
been honest or dishonest, loyal or disloyal, workers 
or shirkers, polite and helpful or surly and selfish. 
This should be ascertained, by some sound method, 
and should govern promotion. 

Two plans are commonly mentioned as alterna- 

108 Policeman and Public 

tives to the civil service system of promotion, one 
giving the power of promotion to the Police Com- 
missioner, the other devising a real record which 
is a reflection of the men's daily work instead of a 
compilation of a few elements in that work. 

Much thought and effort has been devoted to try- 
ing to devise such a system of record-keeping, but 
as yet with only moderately successful results. The 
way has not been found to make records which shall 
accurately make allowances for differences in duty. 
How can we make a comparative record, for instance, 
of the work of men in busy, crowded districts, with 
that in thinly settled, country regions? Continued, 
skilled effort along these lines, however, cannot fail 
to bring about better methods of rating, and each 
improvement, no matter how slight, is well worth 
while, for it is direct encouragement to conscientious 
performance of duty. 

The objection is raised to the other of these plans 
that it might work well under a competent adminis- 
tration, but would be risky with a political or other- 
wise undesirable head of the force. The objection 
is undoubtedly valid to a certain extent. The plan 
should not be rejected, however, without carefully 
considering whether good administration is not 
attained only by taking certain risks,. If we are so 
apprehensive as to the character of the men who may 
lead our police forces that we dare not invest the 

Reward and Punishment 109 

office with the power which it should have if they 
could be trusted to wield it, then we must realize 
that in curbing the powers for evil of an evil man, 
we may be hopelessly shackling the powers for good 
of a worthy man. May it not be wiser to clothe the 
office with such wide powers that there shall be no 
doubt as to who deserves the credit in case the work 
is well done, or as to who is responsible, and solely 
responsible, in case the standard of performance falls 
in any way low? 

After the head of a large police force had been in 
office for a few years he should be able with very few 
mistakes to pick the men whose work had distin- 
guished them beyond their fellows. His judgment 
COUK be checked and his motives scrutinized, if 
deemed necessary, by having the civil service author- 
ities examine his nominees, and reject them or certify 
to their fitness. This is the practice in some cities 
and seems to work very well. 

As soon as it dawned upon the force that such men 
were being picked for promotion you would see your 
police force develop in a surprising way, for every 
ambitious man on it, with a sigh of relief, would settle 
down to work. The lifelefcsness of the job, the "what's 
the use" attitude, would disappear, and the moral 
courage of the men would be stiffened and emboldened. 



MANY stories have been told about police 
graft, so many that one is led to conclude 
that almost all policemen are gentle grafters when 
they get the chance. This is not the fact, for two 
reasons: in the first place, the majority of policemen 
are just as honest as the majority of other people, 
and would not reach down for the dishonest dollar 
any more than other people would; secondly, most 
policemen do not have any more golden opportuni- 
ties for graft than anyone else. 

This grafting is just a case of having wares for 
sale, the wares being privileges to violate some law. 
Most policemen covering their posts, walking up and 
down with no trouble in sight, have no opportunity 
to sell permission to break a law because no one comes 
along who especially wants to break one. In the good 
old days, however, when the public and the press 
were not so particular about the conduct of public 
officials, and didn't know so much about it, detectives, 
whose duties confined them to no mere barren post, 
but covered the city, were in a position to sell per- 

Grafting 111 

mission to operate. And, the story has it, profes- 
sional thieves, the real top-notchers, would not prac- 
tise in a city unless they could first quiet their nerves 
by coming to an understanding with the police. 
Even nowadays, citizens should be suspicious of the 
honesty of their force if they find that an increasing 
number of professional thieves are at work in their 
town. This is especially true of crooks who play 
for high stakes, like wire-tappers and other con- 
fidence men and swindlers. 

The usual form of graft consists in the payment 
of money directly, though sometimes with marvelous 
indirection, to officers of the law by individuals who 
wish to break some law and be immune from punish- 
ment or by individuals who have already broken a 
law and wish to make it right with the policeman so 
as to avoid arrest. The policeman, as we have seen, 
is judge in the court of first instance. He has the 
power, if he is ready to risk being found out, to 
refrain from arresting a lawbreaker, provided the 
lawbreaker makes it worth his while so to refrain. 

Everyone has heard of the "deadline." This fate- 
ful boundary in New York was supposed to be Ful- 
ton Street. No thieves were tolerated south of it. 
Inquiry was made a few years ago as to whether any 
such line still existed. The answer was that it cer- 
tainly did, that it was at least equally as clearly 
defined as in the old days. 

112 Policeman and Public 

"Where is it now. It used to be downtown some- 
where, Fulton Street, didn't it? Where is it now?" 

The answer was, the city limits. Really it could 
not be otherwise, for things have progressed since 
the old days. What did the old deadline mean? 
If thieves must not steal below Fulton Street, how 
about the rest of the city? And if the police 
"allowed" thieving in some parts of the city, there 
must have been something in it for them. 

The story has often been told of the man who had 
his watch stolen one Monday morning on Brooklyn 
Bridge. He reported the theft to the nearest station 
house, stating that the case number of the watch 
was, let us say, 12345 and the movement number 
67890 ; that it had been picked from his waistcoat 
pocket on the bridge. He was certain of this because 
he had meant to time himself across the bridge, and 
remembered taking out his watch and noting the 
time at the Brooklyn end; when he felt for it on 
reaching the New York side it was gone. 

He called at the police station the following day 
and also on Wednesday, but the portly lieutenant at 
the desk seemed to take only a desultory interest 
and he gave up hope of recovery through him, for 
he had heard of the police process of tiring out com- 
plainants till they complained no more. He then 
remembered that he knew a politician, and he had 
heard stories about the uncanny power they wield 

Grafting 113 

in public affairs and in influencing the conduct of 
public servants. He betook himself therefore to his 
acquaintance, and was by him conducted to police 
headquarters and introduced to the high officer who 
had command of the Detective Bureau. 

He told the story again, and the politician observed 
that he hoped the inspector would do what he could 
for his friend. 

"I sure will," was the reply. "You come in here 
tomorrow morning at this time and I will have your 
watch. Here, Bill," he called out to a detective in the 
next room, "come in here." 

Bill came in. 

"Bill, this gentleman lost his watch on Brooklyn 
Bridge last Monday morning. Some dip must have 
lifted it. Case number, 1234-5; movement, 67890. 
Get it, and have it here tomorrow morning at this 

Impressed with this business-like method of carry- 
ing on police work, and with the confidence the 
inspector showed in his ability to recover the watch, 
the gentleman, according to instructions, called at 
headquarters the following morning. The chief 
shook hands with him and sent for Bill, who came in 
looking a bit indignant and rather sheepish. 

"Well, where's the watch?" said the chief. 

"Chief, there's sure some mistake about that. I've 
made 'cm show me every watch stolen on Brooklyn 

114 Policeman and Public 

Bridge that morning, and that number wasn't among 

This is practically partnership in crime between 
police and thieves. It produces team play of the 
mutual benefit order, the party of the first part 
shielding and protecting, while the party of the sec- 
ond part operates and divides. And when in a par- 
ticular case the hue and cry comes so close that a 
victim, or booty, has to be thrown to the dogs, an 
exhibition is given of "detective" work of the highest 
order, the specific thief in question being forced by 
the other partners, of both parts, to submit to arrest 
and to disgorge the plunder all for the quieting of 
the dangerously aroused pack, usually so meek, and 
for the ultimate profit of the partnership. 

This is mostly, we hope, ancient history, but such 
a system could easily and quickly arise at any time, 
unless police affairs receive proper publicity, and 
police heads are ready to answer questions and ^ub- 
mit attested facts and figures. The two necessary 
elements to the partnership always exist, police and 
crooks ; they need nothing but public indifference in 
order to fuse and prosper. 

The public hires the policeman to enforce the law ; 
the crook hires him not to. Public opinion is so 
strong and undivided with reference to crimes 
burglary, pocket-picking, assault and robbery, white 
slavery, etc., that it would be too risky for police- 

Grafting 115 

men to permit people systematically to commit them. 
It is different, however, with the laws regulating our 
manners and customs, the laws, as it is sometimes 
phrased, against vice in distinction from crime. If 
a man steals or swindles or murders he is not merely 
breaking a law but is offending against strong and 
unanimous public opinion. When caught, if the evi- 
dence is clear that he stole the watch or robbed the 
paymaster he will be convicted, sentenced, and put 
behind the bars. 

If, on the other hand, a saloon keeper sells a drink 
to a man five minutes after the legal closing hour on 
Saturday night, he has not offended against undi- 
vided public opinion like the thief or the robber. 
Stealing is always wrong no matter what the hour 
or day or season of year. Assault and robbery, 
blackmail, kidnapping, are crimes whenever, however, 
by whomsoever committed, and the public insists that 
all its enforcers of law and order shall proceed 
strongly against individuals guilty of such crimes, 
to punish and make examples of them. 

There can be no inherent distinction, however, 
between selling a drink five minutes before a certain 
hour arbitrarily fixed as closing time, and selling 
an exactly similar drink five minutes afterwards. 
Such an offense is of a quite different character from 
burglary or rape, for instance. Many good people 
believe that no liquor should be sold to anyone at 

116 Policeman and Public 

any time, or be drunk by anyone at am r time ; others 
who may be equally good believe that whatever re- 
strictions are put upon the sale of liquor should be 
purely regulatory in character with the purpose, not 
of prohibiting, but of controlling in such wise as to 
avoid what seem to them the only evils of the traffic. 
Still other good people believe that we ought not to 
be too fussy about the whole business, that our laws 
are well enough, but that we must not be puritanical 
or inconsiderate in enforcing them; we must show 
ourselves to be men of the world and must have a 
heart for other people's feelings if we don't want 
to drink, well and good, probably everyone would be 
better off without it, but if the other fellow does want 
to drink, what business is it of ours, so long as he 
does not become offensive or harmful in any way? 

Somehow, to give another instance, there does not 
seem to be any fundamental, deep-seated principle 
involved which makes it right for an actor on the 
stage on Sunday to give a recitation, but wrong for 
the same actor to illustrate his song, or enliven it, 
by dancing. Yet the law says that while one is law- 
ful, the other is a crime ; that the person who com- 
mits it should be apprehended, tried, found guilty, 
and sentenced; that the managers of the theatre 
should have their license taken away from them. 

The public does not seem to have the same idea of 
the matter ; does not seem to feel the same resent- 

Grafting 117 

ment against the actor whose crime is dancing on 
Sunday for the delectation of the spectators, as it 
does toward the burglar who breaks in and steals. 

The problem presented by these regulatory laws 
is one which plagues police forces in all our Ameri- 
can cities and often builds up reefs upon which police 
administrations are totally wrecked, although they 
may have been effective in keeping down crime, pre- 
serving the peace, making life and property safe. 
We seem to have the habit in this country of pass- 
ing laws in all seriousness that we really do not intend 
to have enforced as they are written ; we rely upon it 
that they shall be tempered and tamed a bit by the 
humanity and practical worldly common sense of 
those upon whom is placed the duty of enforcement. 
It often seems that the majority of us take a certain 
righteous satisfaction in supporting regulatory 
measures which are eminently respectable and high- 
minded; and having lent support to such worthy 
measures, and through our representatives in legis- 
latures secured their enactment into law, we feel that 
we have done a good job for the common weal : we 
have forbidden vice; we have kept the Sabbath un- 
polluted ; and then, as individuals, we feel that hav- 
ing done our whole, commendable share in this way 
we are quite justified in taking an exception or two 
in our own personal cases. So, if we want to go to 
a show Sunday afternoon we pick out the most inter- 

118 Policeman and Public 

esting program that is advertised, in spite of the 
fact that the added interest in this particular thea- 
tre of our choice is attained by violation of the laws 
whose enactment we approved. And, if we are going 
home late on Saturday night and the hour somehow 
slips along so that it becomes Sunday morning, and 
we are thirsty, we feel that no one will be any the 
worse if we drop in through the side door of a hos- 
pitable saloon and enjoy a grateful drink. 

We have a queer attitude toward some of our laws. 
We make them often without much or any thought 
as to how they are going to fit the actual needs and 
wishes and aspirations of the people whose lives and 
customs they are going to rule ; we print them on the 
pages of our statute books, and then put the books 
upon the shelves and let books and law and all re- 
membrance of law become thickly covered with the 
placid dust of oblivion. They are still laws, and our 
police and prosecuting attorneys are sworn to enforce 
them, yet there they are, snugly sleeping, happily 
hidden by accumulating dusty layers. We don't 
seem to have periodical house-cleanings, shaking the 
dust off our law tomes and looking over these laws, 
each and all of them, to see whether we still approve 
them and whether we still want to be governed by 
them, and still wish to give authority to police and 
prosecutors to hale us to court if we violate them. 
We just keep on passing them, and trusting to the 

Grafting 119 

good sense, and knowledge of public opinion, on the 
part of our officials not to bother us with laws which, 
though still law, are yet not law. 

It is a great and dangerous and burdensome power 
that this attitude of the public bestows upon police 
authorities. The policeman's job would be robbed 
of most of its worries and difficulties if every law 
were the actual expression of the public opinion of 
the day, so that the policeman could know definitely 
that his whole duty was to enforce it as written, and 
that in doing so he would be supported by juries and 
judges, so that if he brought in the evidence they 
would do the rest. 

But that is not our way, and there are not many 
signs on the horizon that we are going to adopt it 
soon. We muddle along, and if our police fail to 
show what we call good sense, if they are too strict in 
doing what we have made them swear they will do, 
then we shake our heads with disgust and say we 
want no more of this puritanical method of enforcing 
laws. If, on the other hand, the police, taking us at 
our previous word, look the other way, and enforce 
the laws "liberally," that is, fail to enforce them, 
and if things become a little bit free and easy, grow- 
ing freer and easier, and still more so then some 
morning we, the public, blink our eyes, slowly wake 
up, and say to ourselves, "Well ! what do you think 
of that? The way these police neglect their duty is 

120 Policeman and Public 

a scandal ; there can be no explanation of it except 
incompetence and graft, and it's so raw I guess it's 
both !" 

The heads of police forces are entitled to know 
what the public wants. The laws do not show this. 
It is hard to tell just what laws mean, anyway, until 
they have been interpreted two or three times by 
high courts, and even then they mean nothing unless 
juries and judges carry them out as they are written 
and interpreted. At times these sumptuary laws of 
ours do not seem to be enforced by police, by prose- 
cuting attorneys, by juries, by judges, as they appar- 
ently were meant to be. And from some dominating 
points of view it looks as if, among all these different 
enforcers, the police should be held least responsible 
if they fail. In the first place, they are not so learned 
as the others they are just policemen; secondly, 
they have, besides this, a great big job and a weighty 
responsibility: they must preserve the peace, they 
must keep your property secure, they must protect 
your life and the lives of your wife and daughter. 
There are only a certain number of them and they 
have to cover the whole city, and look out for house- 
breakers, robbers, thieves of all kinds, as well as for 
the man who dances at a Sunday show, or encourages 
pinochle in a friendly back room. They can't devote 
too large a percentage of their strength to enforcing 
some of these laws without at the same time reducing 

Grafting 121 

the percentage on others. In New York there are 
approximately ten thousand saloons and ten thousand 
policemen. If a policeman were stationed at the 
door of every saloon on Sunday, the saloons would 
probably do very little violating of the law, but what 
a happy day for sneak thieves and pickpockets ! 

Even, however, if a larger number of men were 
assigned the sole duty of looking after violators of 
the regulatory laws, what would be the result? 

It is reported that after an intelligent plain- 
clothes policeman had told a grand jury clearly and 
convincingly just at what time and in what respect 
a certain saloon keeper had violated the excise law, 
u juror put this question to him: "Officer, I guess 
what you say is all right, but why did you pinch this 
man and not any one of the gin-mill keepers on the 
other three corners?" 

An indictment was not found, either because the 
grand jury did not believe the policeman, or because, 
though they believed him, they did not care to en- 
force that law, or they suspected that this particu- 
lar saloon keeper had been arrested because he, per- 
haps, had refused to pay the police what they 
demanded for protection. 

A member of the bar of New York State who 
served for over ten years in charge of the Indict- 
ment Bureau of the prosecuting attorney of one of 
the largest counties in the state, is quoted as having 

122 Policeman and Public 

said that during the ten years he had charge of this 
bureau, between one thousand and eleven hundred 
cases of excise violation were submitted to the grand 
jury. Each one of these cases he carefully exam- 
ined personally before submission, and was convinced 
that in every one the evidence was indisputable and 
the case clear; there were, in other words, a thou- 
sand or more proved violators of the excise law. 
These cases went to the grand jury. Those that 
did not fall by the wayside in the grand jury cham- 
ber were passed along and heard before a judge and 
a petit jury. Of the one thousand and more good 
and true cases which were submitted to the grand 
jury, the number that went through the gamut of 
grand and petit juries and judges and resulted in 
convictions was three. 

What does a record like this say to the command- 
ing officer of a police force? 

It can say nothing else except : "You have no busi- 
ness, Mr. Commissioner, to waste the time of your 
men in getting evidence in case after case of viola- 
tion of regulatory laws when you know that public 
opinion does not support you, and you know it not 
because of what you guess as to the state of public 
opinion you know it because public opinion has ex- 
pressed itself definitely in matters of law enforce- 
ment through the mouths of its spokesmen, grand and 
petit juries. 

Grafting 123 

"When you take case after case of Sunday viola- 
tors to court, and public opinion, speaking through 
juries, tells you that your evidence is good but that 
they don't choose to convict, it is the same as serving 
notice on you that you are to use your forces other- 
wise, to keep down crime, and that you are not to 
waste the time and effort of your men, and the pub- 
lic money needed to secure evidence in order to bring 
these kinds of cases to the bar of justice simply to 
have them thrown out. 

"The public wants you to concentrate your atten- 
tion on keeping life and property safe. 

"The public is pretty well satisfied with the condi- 
tion of the public morals, and as long as the saloons 
are no worse than they are, and the women on the 
street are no more importunate than now, and the 
Sunday shows are no more improper than they have 
been, you stop wasting your men, the servants of 
the public, and the funds at your disposal, the money 
of the public stop wasting them on efforts which 
will accomplish nothing, for you are running your 
head into the blank wall of disapproving public 

"Put your men to work where their masters, the 
public, want them, that is, at preventing and de- 
tecting crime." 

And what is the poor, harried police chief to do? 
It boots him not to sigh and wish that he could find 

124 Policeman and Public 

someone who would give him clear instructions. He 
can't find any such person or any such august body. 

There is a sinister side to this, which has a most 
baleful effect upon the members of the force, for in 
these regulatory laws are nourished the roots of 
police graft. The policeman concludes that the pub- 
lic does not expect him to enforce to the letter all 
the sumptuary laws. He knows thereby that he is not 
taking much risk if he allows violations. He is, 
therefore, most sorely tempted to permit such viola- 
tions in the cases of those who make it worth his 
while. If there are four saloons on his post, and if 
three of them make a contribution to him every Sun- 
day morning, he is prone to let matters take their 
agreeable course with reference to these contributors, 
but to make things a little hot for the fourth, who 
may be reserving his Sunday morning contribution 
for another and even more worthy purpose. 

This gives the policeman, on the one hand, the 
weapon against non-contributors of the threat of 
arraignment in court; and, on the other hand, it 
permits him safely and without appreciable risk to 
refrain from enforcing the law in such particular 
cases as his good judgment dictates. 

It is from this sort of situation that practically 
all police graft grows. If all our laws were living 
forces, if we meant what we said when we told police 
forces to go out and enforce them, if we backed up 

Grafting 125 

police forces with the rest of the law-enforcing ma- 
chinery, and corrected situations as they became in- 
tolerable through laws that were growing old and 
blue, not by telling a policeman in effect to refrain 
from doing his duty, but by amending or abolishing 
our laws so that they should always reflect the exist- 
ing standards and desires of the public then we 
should rescue these fine bodies of men from the intol- 
erable situation into which we have put them, and 
which, for those of them that have the duty of en- 
forcing our regulatory laws, constitutes such a 
temptation to dishonest}'. 

Why should we wonder at the growth of lawless- 
ness in a community when the community itself has 
so little respect personally for laws which it col- 
lectively enacts? It often seems a travesty to call 
our enactments law, they are so totally different 
from natural laws. The law of gravitation, for in- 
stance, is a statement of fact. Wise men discovered 
that bodies in space are attracted toward each other. 
They stated this fact and called it, for convenience, 
a law. In somewhat similar manner should not man- 
made laws be statements of the public's desires ; and 
should not, theoretically, the whole legal system be 
continuously adjusting, and readjusting itself so 
that it continues to be, like natural law, an actual, 
true statement of public standards? 

Good, puzzled people often become impatient with 

126 Policeman and Public 

reform administrations because violations of regula- 
tory laws seem to continue under them. They fully 
expected that when the dishonest machine govern- 
ment was thrown out there would be an end to this 
sort of thing. 

They say : "We know you are honest ; we believe 
you mean well; but we can't see how it is that you 
permit the law to be violated in this way. 

"We know that if the police send out the word the 
saloons will close. It has been done before, so it can 
be done now. 

"Why don't you do it ? It is so simple. Why, we 
have often read in the newspapers that the gamblers 
close up on getting a tip from the police, or that 
every saloon in the city was tight closed on Sunday 
because of a police tip. Why don't you give this 

No wonder they are puzzled. The members of the 
reform administration of which such great things 
are expected would welcome, even more than the 
puzzled good citizens, the power to give that tip and 
have it followed. The trouble is that with the 
entrance of a reform administration comes the sever- 
ance of the tie between police and lawbreaker which 
caused the "tip" from one to the other to be received 
as the advice of one interested partner to the other. 
The tip never lasts long enough to have the slightest 
effect toward changing the situation of law enforce- 

Grafting 127 

ment; if it resulted in their shutting down, the 
offenders would soon discard the partner who passed 
out such unprofitable tips. They do heed, however, 
and gratefully, the tip of the partner who knows 
that something has happened of such a character 
that it is to their mutual best interest if the violator 
refrain from violating for a day or two, or possibly 
three long enough for the storm to blow over, for 
the public to calm down or have its attention di- 
verted to something else. The supposedly all-power- 
ful tip, in the first place, cannot work at all except 
as a temporary measure of seeking cover; and, 
secondly, it cannot operate unless it passes between 
those who "understand" each other and have a 
common interest. 

One cannot but feel in the face of such conditions 
that the policeman who yields to these temptations 
and takes graft is really not much more than a pawn 
in the game. Great as is the blame that attaches to 
him, and despicable as is a public official who lowers 
himself to accept bribes, yet the public in condemn- 
ing, and properly condemning a crooked policeman 
should realize that he has had a job where the temp- 
tation is greater than that in most other jobs, and 
where he has been permitted for years to go ahead 
with his work, without any insistence on the part of 
the public that his methods should be open and above- 

128 Policeman and Public 

The policeman who has the duty of enforcing vice 
laws faces one of the hardest situations which could 
confront a self-respecting man. In his honest en- 
deavor to enforce its laws he deserves the under- 
standing and the support of the public. Mystery 
should not be permitted, nothing should be kept 
secret by the police except what is necessary for 
obtaining success in individual cases. Accurate 
records should be kept by methods which will picture 
facts, and no "smoke screens" should be tolerated. 

A favorite screening method used by dishonest 
policemen is to try to create such an impression of 
energy and rectitude in certain ways that the atten- 
tion of all shall be diverted, leaving the field in other 
directions safely open to busy and profitable effort. 
It has happened in police forces in this country that 
high officers who have had among other duties those 
of enforcing the laws controlling vice have been con- 
spicuous attendants at church, frequent speakers at 
meetings of church clubs, total abstainers and 
earnest workers for abstinence among their sub- 
ordinates ; they have also been terrors to certain 
classes of evildoers, those whom it would be too 
hazardous to sell protection to. Yet these same 
high police officials were all the time concealing activ- 
ities which were nothing less than cunning, crooked 
and contemptible graft. 

By making some of their men publicly take the 

Grafting 129 

pledge, and by ostentatiously chasing some un- 
profitable gangsters from the neighborhood they 
gain for themselves a reputation which they can draw 
on as needed to cover up their protection to pur- 
veyors of vice. This is true especially, of course, of 
the higher officials, the ones who have the authority, 
and the power to afford protection. 

The notorious "System," when it exists, works 
from these men both up and down. When the times 
are benign and trade flourishes, it goes up to other 
branches of the city government. It works best 
when police magistrates, and higher judges if pos- 
sible, will listen and do their part on occasions "of 
stress, by letting off some vicious person whom the 
police were obliged by force of circumstances to 
arrest against their will. And in such halcyon days 
of finished organization, the System can count also 
on the brotherly cooperation of district attorneys, 
sheriffs, and other useful city officials. 

lit ides reaching above, to these men higher up, 
the System works down also, through the lower 
ranks of the force. It requires the active coopera- 
tion of such officers as are directly charged with en- 
forcing the laws which are to be broken for pay, and 
the passive cooperation of about the whole force. 
This passive partnership in graft means merely, but 
absolutely, that Silence must be maintained, that no 
policeman must open his mouth about the criminal 

130 Policeman and Public 

doings of his brother officers. These men get no 
financial return, but woe betide them if they open 
their mouths, if they do what they have sworn they 
will do : enforce the law, apprehend lawbreakers. If 
the criminal happens to wear the uniform, he is 
immune. A "squealer" is a marked man, life on the 
force would be made miserable for him, if he could 
endure it at all ; by far the easiest way is to observe 
the brotherhood of silence, and let the grafters graft. 
Thus is the fine, wholesome body of the force 
tainted throughout with the poison generated by the 
betrayal of their trust by the few active beneficiaries 
of the evil, greedy, traitorous System. It is a 
vicious, malignant growth, despicable and dangerous 
because of the way it spreads its corrupting venom. 
This spread is essential to its life ; it could not exist 
without this compulsion of silence. And if the ma- 
chinery runs well, the profits are so great that it 
stops at nothing to compel compliance. From time 
to time one reads in the public prints of some sort 
of official humiliation visited on a policeman of good 
reputation. This is a danger signal to the public, 
just as an S O S call is to ships at sea. It should be 
at once heeded, and the whole situation be thoroughly 
looked into. What investigators often encounter on 
a quest like this is the "nothing to say" attitude, 
usually accompanied by the allegation that the in- 
formation asked for cannot be given, as its publica- 

Grafting 131 

tion would work against the public interest. Such 
an allegation is simply a second and confirmatory 
danger signal. There is practically no police in- 
formation that cannot, and should not, in the public 
interest, be given to respectable citizens who have 
the interest to ask for it. 

It is the easiest thing in the world for a System to 
get started if there's a market for vice in a city, but 
it is far harder than it used to be for it to develop 
satisfactorily to its members. Public life has higher 
standards, and newspapers are searching in their 

Policemen sometimes try to excuse graft as being 
simply in the nature of tips, and we have all heard 
the distinction between honest and dishonest graft. 
They also try to excuse it as being simply a sort of 
business custom, just as characteristic of business 
men, bankers and brokers, as it is of policemen. Yet 
the humiliation is deep and real. A police officer of 
the highest rank once told a friend at a time when 
the reputation of the force was low that he never 
appeared in uniform any more than he could help, 
for people always turned the other way and avoided 
him. Policemen have said that when they went away 
with their families for the summer vacation they 
tried to conceal the fact that they were policemen. 

But police forces are sound at the core, and the 
great majority of the men on any given force are 

132 Policeman and Public 

undoubtedly honest, anyway. On the other hand, 
the viciousness of police graft cannot be over- 
estimated, and the danger of it to the public is far 
greater than is commonly realized, for graft, dis- 
honesty, low standards from any cause, low practices 
of any kind, are ruinous to police morale. We need 
not count on getting the high grade of protective 
service the community needs unless we take such 
measures as may be necessary to make and keep our 
police forces honest. The morale must be high, and 
it cannot be high in a body of men where there is even 
a small cancer of dishonesty gnawing its way into 
the sound, wholesome body of the force and corrupt- 
ing it both by gradually eating its way further and 
becoming a larger and larger part of it, and by pour- 
ing its contaminating poison into the circulation of 
the body, thereby paralyzing more and more of its 
natural functions. 

In the old palmy days when there were no new- 
fangled notions about this sort of thing, the police 
force was simply part of the political machine. 
Other parts were judges, prosecuting attorneys, race- 
track men, gamblers, operators of houses of ill-fame, 
saloon keepers, and all others who expected to earn 
an honest living by violating the law. The clamor 
in a particular case would have to be very loud and 
long sustained for a member of the machine to be 
arrested by his colleague, the policeman, or prose- 

Grafting 133 

cuted with any vigor by his colleague, the public 
attorney. If things came to the worst and the case 
were driven to judgment, he could rely upon a favor- 
able charge to the jury, and if the jury proved re- 
calcitrant, upon certainly as light a sentence as 
could be imposed. It was a powerful machine; it 
poisoned everything it came in contact with; it 
throttled with its grip of vice all that was good and 
true and sound and strong in the community which 
might stand between it and its plunder. Probably 
there is not much of this sort of thing in its undiluted 
form in this country nowadays. It was a system so 
profitable to its managers, however, that it accepts 
defeat bitterly, and fights to retain all it can, 
contesting a losing battle with stubbornness and 

In one of our largest cities, the story is told of a 
talk some years ago between the police head and a 
political machine leader. The former had conceived 
the idea that he could run the force himself, without 
the usual political guidance. He was a strong man, 
and was getting along rather well, so well that the 
leader was worried. So he called to see him. The 
proposition he put was roughly this. The police 
would do far more for him than they would for their 
chief. The chief, therefore, would get the best re- 
sults if he ran things through the leader, who was 
ready to undertake the job. If certain places really 

134 Policeman and Public 

had to be cleaned out, he would see that the police 
cleaned them ; if there "got to be" too much "holler" 
about anything he would have it attended to. So 
the chief needn't bother, and wouldn't have any 
trouble. All he need do was make promotions and 
transfers as specified by the leader, and otherwise 
keep his hands off! 



THE preceding chapter has spoken of the way 
corrupt politics can absorb the police as part of 
its powerful machine, making it an agency for the 
protection and furtherance of vice. There are other 
ways in which politics can affect the police, which are 
not corrupt, which are far removed and totally dif- 
ferent in character from the practices just described, 
but which sap the power of any force. 

:In some cities, where civil service laws do not 
ipply, appointments to the police department are 
ooked upon simply as places for the workers in the 
victorious party. An officer is an officer just as 
ong as his party is in power and he serves it faith- 
fully enough to deserve the plum. 

A few years ago an investigator was traveling 
through the United States, for the purpose of look- 
ing over the police forces in the larger cities and 
writing a book about them. In the course of his 
journeyings he stepped into the office of the chief 
in a city of some 500,000 inhabitants, more or less. 

136 Policeman and Public 

He presented his letters* of introduction and was 
cordially greeted. 

"Chief, I should like the privilege of learning some- 
thing about your problems and methods here." 

"Yes," answered the chief, "I see. You want to 
write a book about police, and you'd like to look this 
department over to see how it sizes up with the 
others. Have I got you?" 


"Well, I'll be glad to let you have a look around. 
I'm just as well satisfied you didn't come before, 
though, because I've been reorganizing the force. 
I'm just through, and there isn't a damn Republican 
left on it today !" 

The police and politics don't mix well. Each has 
a bad effect on the other, sometimes very bad, even 
when there is no taint of graft. People generally feel 
this in theory, but they seldom know just how politics 
mingles with police affairs and just what the evil 
effect is. 

A police force must have a single aim : to maintain 
order, preserve the peace, protect life and property, 
keep down crime. Any influence that tends to divert 
it from using its whole energy to this end is evil, and 
unconsciously works to disturb the peace, to break 
down law and order, to make our lives and property 
less safe. It is a hard fight, this fight police ^forces 
are waging day and night, winter and summer, hot 

Influence 137 

or cold, wet or dry, against the forces of disorder, 
the outlaws, the ruffians who would hold us up in the 
street and filch from us our wages, the swindlers who 
would take our savings from us, the burglars who 
would break into our houses and steal ; it is unceasing 
warfare, for a police force is never off duty. No con- 
sideration must enter in except success at this task. 
Policemen must feel, must know from experience, that 
they are expected to do nothing except the job of 
policing the city as well as it can be policed, that 
they are not to play favorites, that they have 
nothing to fear as long as they just do their duty. 
The moment a policeman doubts this and begins to 
wonder whether he is meant to do his full duty, or 
perhaps the powers above might be better pleased if 
he refrained from taking measures against certain 
friends of certain people the moment this happens 
the power of the forces of law and order is weakened. 
If the policeman is sure, on the other hand, that 
he is expected to "obey the orders that have been 
officially given him, that he will be supported if he 
tries to do his best, no matter whether he restrains 
friertli of -the authorities or not, that he will be 
supported eVen if he makes a mistake, so long as it 
is an honest mistake if he knows that this is the 
situation, he will be likely to shut his mind to any 
other thought, to any other aim than that of trying 
to do his work well. And when he wants to be 

138 Policeman and Public 

assigned to some other duty, to be transferred to a 
precinct nearer his home, he will ask his commanding 
officer to do this for him, stating his reasons and 
standing upon his record of performance of duty. 

On the other hand, if policemen know that trans- 
fers go by favor, and are accomplished by the 
intercession of friends of influence rather than by 
straightforward, hard work at the job, a man 
instead of standing on his own record would go to 
his district leader and ask that he do him the favor 
of securing the desired transfer. The district leader, 
glad to have a chance to do a favor for a voter, goes 
to see the police chief and asks him to transfer 
Patrolman Hayes from the 24th to the 124th pre- 
cinct. Now there may be no reason from the point of 
view of the distribution of the force why Hayes 
should not be in the 124th just as well as in the 24th, 
yet if the chief transfers the policeman at the behest 
of the politician, that policeman knows that the way 
he got what he wanted was not by having a record of 
faithful work, of loyal service to the public, but by 
having an influential friend. He knows that the way 
to get influential friends is to do favors for them, and 
most of the favors that are in his power to do are 
tacit permissions to break the law. 

Under this kind of regime no one can blame the 
men if they devote their major effort to the acquisi- 
tion of friends, and relegate duty to the second place. 

Influence 139 

Policemen are practical men, their work makes them 
so. They exert themselves in whatever line of en- 
deavor brings them what they desire. In this they 
are a good deal like the rest of us. 

This is what might be called the innocent way in 
which politics can enfeeble a police force, for there 
is nothing wrong in the motive of the politician, and 
he is far from being alone in trying to be the means 
of having favors done for policemen. Policemen are 
comfortable friends to have, and all sorts and condi- 
tions of men from about all the different walks of life 
come from time to time to those in authority over a 
police force and ask favors for some particular man. 
It makes no difference whether he is politician or 
minister of the gospel, the principle is the same and 
the effect is the same. 

In a way, as between politicians and other friends 
of policemen, the politicians are more reasonable and 
easier to convince, for a politician is bound to do 
what he can for the voters in his district and he 
wants them to feel that if favors can be got from 
public officials he is the one to get them. If a con- 
stituent wants a favor from the tenement house de- 
partment, or the fire department, or the health de- 
partment, he is the one to get it. It is the same with 
the police department; if a blue-coated constituent 
wants a transfer, the politician wants to be able to 
get it for him if anyone can get it. In case, however, 

140 Policeman and Public 

no one else can accomplish it, the politician is per- 
fectly satisfied to be refused, as his constituent would 
not be likely to leave him for a rival who can do no 
more than he can. 

As soon as men in politics are convinced that a 
police administration is not playing politics at all, 
that it will make not a single exception in favor of 
any politician, then all are satisfied and probably 
rather relieved, for they are saved the task of trying 
to get favors from one department at least. 

Not many years ago one of the most prominent 
figures in the public life of a great state wrote to the 
head of the police force asking that a patrolman be 
transferred, from one precinct to another, and adding 
that he would consider it a personal favor. The 
police head wrote back a courteous letter explaining 
that he could not make the transfer, since in all such 
matters he had made it a rule to deal only with the 
members of the force themselves, and if such a trans- 
fer could properly be made without unfavorably 
affecting the efficiency of the force, without being 
unfair to other men, it undoubtedly would be made, 
provided the man requesting it had a good record. 
It must be done, however, as the result of the man's 
own request, on the basis of his record, and not from 
the request of anyone outside the force. 

That ended this particular episode that is, it 
ended the police side of it. Later it appeared, how- 

Influence 141 

ever, that the politician had been so much impressed 
by the singularity of the letter that he had had it 
framed and hung on the wall of his office, as an adver- 
tisement of the writer's extraordinary theory of 

A year or so after this, however, the writers of 
these two letters both happened to be speakers at a 
large public dinner. The man who had made the 
request for the transfer spoke first and to the sur- 
prise of the other started to tell this story. He had 
not been very well pleased, he admitted, at the re- 
fusal of his simple, trifling request. He had felt that 
considering their personal and other relations he 
was entitled to have this favor granted. As the 
months went on, however, he gradually became con- 
vinced, he told the gathering, that the head of the 
force was "on the level" ; that he was trying to run 
his job on a novel theory, asking nothing of the men 
except honest and earnest performance of duty, and 
doing things for the men themselves at their own 
request, if they were doing good police work, which 
he would not for a moment consider doing at the 
request of outsiders. He had come to the con- 
clusion, the speaker went on, that this was probably 
a pretty good method of administration and he was 
glad to see it being tried out. As far as his request 
for the transfer went, he was perfectly willing to have 
that refused as long as he could feel certain that 

142 Policeman and Public 

similar requests from his rivals were also refused. 
If no one was going to get anything, he didn't mind ; 
but if anyone succeeded he wanted to get a little 
more than anyone else ! 


Police Leadership 

THE policeman's task is too important to the 
community to permit the existence of such risks 
of contamination by dishonesty, and by poisonous 
political influence. The material is good. We take 
pains to select capable men; we train them, swear 
them in, start them out to do their duty, and then 
neglect them. It is like buying a motor car and 
giving it no care, or building a smooth road, and en- 
tirely forgetting the upkeep. 

Policemen's instincts are sound; the mistakes they 
make are not often those of the heart. Three or 
four years ago one of the other city departments in 
New York was making a study of the dependent poor, 
and in the course of this sent a man around the 
streets made up as a beggar to see what his experi- 
ences would be. He came of course in continual con- 
tact with the police, but he was not arrested, and 
only one officer out of the twenty-five or thirty with 
whom he came in touch went so far as to speak 
roughly to him. One even advised him to go down 
the avenue four or five blocks and then over one 

144 Policeman and Public 

block to the west, for he said, "This is not a good 
corner" ; there would be a good many more people 
and he would have a better chance below ! 

Two policemen came perilously near finding him 
a job. He escaped one by slipping out of a side, 
door; and the other he avoided by pleading that his 
apparently broken arm was still in such a weak and 
painful condition that he could not take up any work 

But his tragic experience was with the most 
friendly policeman. He had figured that he should 
probably not get much of anything to eat for some 
time, so just before starting out he ate his fill. 

It was less than an hour after this that he accosted 
a policeman in the neighborhood of a large restau- 
rant around Times Square with his usual remark: 
"Say, boss, can you help a fellow out? I've just got 
in town with no money and a busted arm. Can you 
tell me where I can get a meal and a chance to work?" 

The policeman, a burly officer, looked him over 
and said: "Well, son, I don't know about the job 
part of it. It might be pretty hard to get you a job 
with a bum wing, but you bet your life I'll get that 
empty belly of yours filled up !" 

So he took him into the kitchen of one of Broad- 
way's favorite restaurants, told the story to the 
steward, and said he wanted to see the stranger eat 
a real two-man meal. The steward, whether out of 

Police Leadership 14.5 

sympathy for an unfortunate fellow mortal in dis- 
tress or to do a favor where it might come in handy 
later, provided the meal, and it was a meal worthy 
of the restaurant. The poor overfed beggar had 
to make away with that meal too, in spite of his 
already bursting condition, for the policeman stood 
over him glowing with satisfaction. 

Policemen are traditionally ready to help people 
in trouble; they eagerly took up the scheme in New 
York of holding Christmas trees in station houses 
for some of the unfortunate children of the neighbor- 
hood who otherwise would have had only a sorry 
Christmas ; they earnestly administered the fund 
which was raised in New York during the hard 
winter of 1915-16 for the relief of unemployed, and 
it was found that members of the force themselves 
subscribed two-thirds of the total. They are gener- 
ous and they are ready to do their bit. New York 
policemen subscribed hundreds of thousands of 
dollars to the Liberty Loans, of their own money, out 
of their own pay ; this was not money which they 
had raised by solicitation from someone else. They 
so much of human nature that they can't help 
growing kindly toward it, for it isn't only the pro- 
fessional criminal they see and grow to know, it is 
the down-and-out generally, the unfortunate brother 
or sister in trouble, for more and more people in any 
sort of trouble are prone to go to the policeman, as 

146 Policeman and Public 

their confidence in the integrity and single purpose 
of a police force grows. 

A patrolman who had a post some years ago on 
Cherry Hill, in the heart of the lower East Side of 
New York, used to watch with sad eyes the stream of 
pale-faced women going to work at half past four in 
the morning to scrub floors. He said he could not 
help passing a kind word as they went by him, weary 
in body and spirit; yet it was a mistake to do this, 
for "A friendly word to one of those women just as 
day was breaking meant a tearful woman coming and 
pouring out her troubles to me at 7 p.m. ; and I had to 
help her out, she was having such tough luck, I had 
to give her some change, and I wasn't any too flush, 
with a couple of kids of my own at home with appe- 
tites like horses and growing out of all their clothes." 

A body of fine men like this are entitled to a high 
order of leadership which shall understand them, 
care for them, fight for their rights, and guard them 
from the private interests which are ready to break 
them down. 

In some cities the heads of the police force are 
apt to change with a shift of the party in power, 
and even more often, according to the exigencies 
and urgencies of the political situation. This matter 
of changing leadership is another of the evils our 
political system foists on police forces. Police- 
men's work is difficult and puzzling enough to entitle 

Police Leadership 147 

them to steady standards, and to honest, definite 
orders. Given these, year after year, they will have 
a fair chance to learn their job in practice, and by 
much repetition march on with reasonably rapid im- 
provement to better things. 

Their work suffers cruelly, however, if standards 
shift, so that they become uncertain as to just what 
is expected of them. This superimposes on the in- 
herent difficulty of the job the additional problem of 
their leader's aims and purposes. The men develop 
a habit of caution, and a reluctance to take 
definite action unless it is forced upon them. If 
administrations change frequently, bringing changes 
in policy, in methods, in the character of the work 
expected, the men form the habit of never giving a 
thought to plain, straight police duty but only of 
trying to find out by direct or devious channels 
what the new administration wants, and how it wants 
it done. When commissioners are mere birds of pas- 
sage, as they have been at times in some cities, and 
when they fly so fast and remain on the perilous 
perch for so short a time that their species can 
hardly be determined, is it any wonder that the men 
mark time, lie low, do nothing that can be avoided, 
until they find out just where they stand and what is 
expected ? 

The remark has been made that under some ad- 
ministrations policemen would listen indifferently to 

148 Policeman and Public 

the printed, published orders as they were being read, 
and then would become alert for the "whispered" 
word which followed and by which they were to guide 

The story is told of a conversation between a 
civilian and a motorcycle policeman a year or so ago. 
The assignment of this motorcycle policeman w'as to 
enforce the rules of the road, and his duties varied 
from the serious ones of apprehending chauffeurs 
speeding along at forty or fifty miles an hour, or 
recklessly driving through streets where children 
were playing, to the less vital ones of serving sum- 
monses on drivers of cars whose exhaust pipes were 

In the course of the conversation, the civilian 
asked the policeman, "How do you like your job 
nowadays ?" 

"Well," the policeman answered, "it's all right, I 

"Any different from what it used to be before?" 

"You bet it is," was the answer. "Nowadays if a 
friend of the boss is arrested we don't get word from 
headquarters to change the complaint from speeding 
to smoking." 

In American cities there is no special course of 
training for officers of higher grades. They have 

Police Leadership 149 

all been patrolmen, have all risen from the ranks, 
and they are given no special preparation for 
the duty of the higher rank. All they know of 
it is what they have observed from below. A 
patrolman who is promoted to sergeant, for instance, 
has never had training in the duties of the sergeant, 
as distinguished from those of patrolmen. He has 
never been taught how to get the best out of men 
under his command, how to lead, to control, to in- 
spire. He knows nothing of the higher job except 
what he has observed while, as patrolman, he came 
in more or less frequent contact with sergeants, 
and the principal thing he learned about the sergeant 
was how to avoid him. 

To higher officers on police forces this is a handi- 
cap which is little understood. When we think of the 
methods taken by armies to train officers, with the 
four-year course at West Point, and now in war time 
with Officers' Training Camps, we cannot help won- 
dering why it is that people are content to trust 
their safety to the care of police commanding officers 
who have had no training other than that given 
to patrolmen. We cannot wonder under these 
conditions that they fail to take a commander's view 
of their job; that the whole force has a tendency to 
coalesce; that the distinctions between different 
grades tend to disappear; that the mutual respect 

150 Policeman and Public 

due from superior to subordinate, as well as from 
subordinate to superior, is lacking. 

Rank is not in any way a matter of invidious dis- 
tinction. A patrolman's work is just as honorable 
as that of captain ; and the captain, if he is worthy 
of his rank, will respect the patrolman in his work 
just as he expects the patrolman to respect him. 
But if the captain is unable, or hesitates, or does not 
know how to accept the responsibility and do the 
work of his higher grade, he cannot get good results 
from his subordinates. The tendency of it all is to 
hamstring the effectiveness of the organization by 
providing it with leaders in name only. 

An explanation was being made to the captain of 
a precinct a few years ago as to just exactly what 
was expected of a captain; just where he fitted in to 
the work of the whole organization; just what duties 
he must perform in order to do his part toward 
having the whole police machine work smoothly and 
effectively; how his job differed from that of his 
superior, the inspector, on the one hand, and his 
subordinate, the lieutenant, on the other. It was 
pointed out to him, first, that he must know his pre- 
cinct thoroughly and intimately must know it 
better than any other person in the city. Secondly, 
he must so administer his work and direct his men as 
to keep down crime and make his precinct not only 
safe, but wholesome, and a pleasant place for people 

Police Leadership 151 

to live or work in. That meant he must study condi- 
tions keenly ; must study the crimes that were being 
committed, investigating them thoroughly and 
trying to work out methods to prevent them; and 
keep his force steadily and skillfully at work. 
Thirdly, he must look after the discipline, welfare 
and comfort of his men. He could not expect them 
to work for him unless he worked for them. The way 
they could work for him was by carrying out his 
orders faithfully and trying to do what he made it 
clear to them he wanted done ; the way he could work 
for them was to keep the station house clean as a 
hospital, to be fair and play no favorites, to en- 
courage them to come to him with their troubles, to 
help them and fight for them as he would for his own 
son, to direct them wisely and ably. When the need 
for extra duty came, and in some kind of emergency 
they had to work for long, continuous hours, he 
would see that they were fed, that they got chances 
to sleep, that they were exposed to no danger that 
was not necessary. Fourthly, he was to administer 
Hie station house with economy, to keep his records 
accurately and right up to date, to make required 
reports promptly and comprehensively. 

The captain was asked if he understood. "Yes, 
Commissioner, I think I understand, and it is a real 
job you are giving me a job that none of us ever 
had or thought of before." 

152 Policeman and Public- 

He was asked what had been his previous concep- 
tion of the job of captain, the police officer in com- 
mand of a precinct with perhaps one or two hundred 
policemen under him, and with the responsibility in 
his hands for the safety of the people in that part 
of the city. 

"Well, to tell the truth, my idea of the job was to 
'get by,' to keep out of trouble, and let no one get 
anything 'on me' that was about it." 

And this must be the inevitable conception of duty 
of a responsible officer in almost any organization if 
his superiors do not make clear to him just what 
they want, if they fail to require him to keep up to 
the standard, and fail to support him when he runs 
into difficulties in trying to do what they expect. 

Where the organization is not clean-cut and the 
officers in the different grades do not understand 
just what is the duty of that particular grade and 
what is the best way to be successful at it, they are 
sure to degenerate into using methods that are most 
damaging to the spirit of the force. Such officers 
often know no way to enforce discipline except by 
persecuting a man or "bawling him out" shrieking 
at him in the presence of others so loudly and with 
such roughness as to humiliate him. The effect of 
this sort of thing upon both is about as bad as it 
could be, yet too much blame could not properly be 
laid on policemen for this ; their superiors had never 

Police Leadership 153 

taken the pains to try to show them anything better; 
when they held low rank higher officers had treated 
them in this way, so when they in turn became higher 
officers they treated the men under them likewise. 

A commanding officer should work according to 
two very simple principles : first, he should treat his 
men fairly ; secondly, he should require them to do 
the work. No commanding officer can be successful 
unless the men feel that he is square and that he has 
their interest at heart, yet often a square man will 
fail as a commander unless he is able also to exact 
from his men a high-grade performance of duty. 
The mushy leader never succeeded either in accom- 
plishing his work or in achieving popularity. The 
cheap efforts of some commanders of men to gain 
popularity by being easy on them, by overlooking 
derelictions, is successful only in gaining a reputation 
of being "soft" and negligible. Popularity comes to 
commanders in other ways; it comes to the man who 
shows that he can command, can inspire and require 
his men to do their duty; yet who deals squarely, 
tukt-s a genuine personal interest in them, and fights 
for their rights. 

Men will be cheerful under any amount of exacting 
hours of work and privation if they know that "the 
old man" is on the job too, staying awake nights to 
look out for them, for with such a leader they know 
the hardships they have to undergo are unavoidable. 

154 Policeman and Public 

A two-fisted man and most policemen are such 
does not mind hardship or hard work or hard luck if 
it is necessary for the good of the cause; he does 
mind it, even a slight amount of it, if he feels that 
it is unnecessary and could have been avoided if his 
chief had been a little less lazy and selfish, or a little 
more competent. 

Men will dare any danger under a commander who 
they are sure knows his job, for if the order comes 
to do a dangerous bit of work they know that there 
is no other way. "The boss," they know of old, 
though brave as a lion and stopping at nothing to 
get the result, is also cautious and resourceful and 
can be depended on to adopt the method most likely 
to succeed, and safest for his men. The only limit to 
the achievements of men led like this is the limit of 
human possibility. 

A superior officer must notice the work of his men : 
if it is below par he should instruct and explain 
patiently before jumping to the conclusion that the 
fault is with the man's will; and if it is well done he 
should express approval. He must be forever train- 
ing and developing his forces, explaining better 
methods to them, giving them clear and definite 
orders, holding up to them high ideals of perform- 
ance of duty. The lowest job must be dignified, the 
highest officer must make the lowest feel that his 
task is important, worth holding and doing well. 

Police Leadership 155 

Everything else will be unavailing unless he sets 
a good personal example. A few years ago a private 
citizen was being "shown the town" in one of our 
large Western cities. Among other points of inter- 
est he was taken to a saloon in the Red Light Dis- 
trict which had notoriety throughout the country 
as being kept by a man powerful in both political 
and criminal circles. As the visitor stepped up to 
the bar to take a drink of good-fellowship he noticed 
that there were two patrolmen in full uniform con- 
tentedly partaking of the glass that inebriates. 

Turning to his guide he asked, "How in the world 
do these men dare to take a chance like this, drinking 
in a saloon in full uniform in sight of everyone, and 
the sergeants around?" 

"Oh," the guide said, "they're not taking any 
chances ; the cops have enough *on' every sergeant 
in the city so that no sergeant could afford to get 
after them." 

What can be done in American police forces to 
improve the quality of leadership among the 
higher officers? One great difficulty has already 
been touched on in the discussion in a previous chap- 
ter of methods of promotion. In spite of the burden 
of such a system, however, a good deal can be 
accomplished by training; and fairness to the officers, 
as well as the interest of the city, demands that 

156 Policeman and Public 

policemen promoted to higher duty be given instruc- 
tion to fit them to meet the added responsibility. 

This can be done by police Training Schools, and 
a properly equipped and administered school is per- 
haps the most indispensable single feature of the 
police force of a large city. 

Such a school has two main functions : to train 
raw recruits so as to fit them for service as patrol- 
men, and to train officers. 

Recruits cannot be turned out trained as they 
should be, mentally and physically, in less than three 
months, and at least twice as much time as this could 
well be devoted to them. For they must be taught 
the laws, and the ways to enforce them. They must 
also be given a most rigorous course of physical 
training, and be taught how to fight, to defend them- 
selves, to handle prisoners who resist so as to subdue 
them without battering them with clubs. 

One day a prisoner on being arraigned before the 
police magistrate complained of the way he was 
handled by the young policeman who arrested him. 

"He wound his arm in round my elbow, your 
Honor, and if I made any move except walking 
straight along, it'd half kill me." 

"I see," said the judge; "did he hurt you as long 
as you walked along quietly?" 

"No, sir." 

Police Leadership 157 

"Had you resisted when you were placed under 

"Well, I didn't like to have the cop take me in !" 

"Officer," asked the judge, turning to the police- 
man, "tell me about this." 

"Well, sir, your Honor, sir, this is the first arrest 
I've made, sir, and the croo the defendant, I mean, 
started to run on me, and talked ugly, so I just put 
one of the grips on him I'd been taught in Training 
School, and he came along all right. I didn't want 
to have to hit him, sir." 

Besides mental and physical training, recruits 
must develop morale, and learn their obligations, 
their powers, and the limitations of their powers. 
For a well-taught and well-trained policeman may 
be only a menace on the street if he has not also 
learned self-restraint and noblesse oblige. 

Wherever police training schools exist they are 
used, with greater or less success, to train raw 
recruits, but it is seldom that they are made also to 
serve the at least equally important purpose of 
teaching officers. 

No policeman should be promoted without being 
given such instruction and training as is necessary 
to fit him to do the work of his new higher rank. 
Regular courses can be given in the training school 
to prepare candidates for promotion to each of the 
successive higher grades, and no one should be per- 

158 Policeman and Public 

mitted to enter a new grade until he has qualified in 
the school and shown that he can reasonably be 
expected to perform his duties capably. 

This is one part of the assistance a police train- 
ing school can give to higher officers. The other is 
to provide continual freshening-up courses, so that 
every sergeant, lieutenant, etc., can put in a fort- 
night a year in further training to keep him up to 
date and prevent him from falling into perfunctory 

One of the most important things these officers 
should be taught is a rudimentary proficiency in 
military drill, so that when they are called on to 
handle groups of men they shall be able to do so with 
confidence, and with a fair chance of being able to 
get the group where they want it to be, and in the 
formation that will best meet the needs of the situa- 
tion. Police officers are wofully weak at this, and 
no wonder, for they have practically no practice, 
most of their duties calling for contact with indi- 
vidual patrolmen on post, and not in groups. It is 
therefore all the more necessary to provide practice 
in drill, for when policemen have to work in forma- 
tion there is apt to be emergency work on hand where 
mistakes are costly ; in handling crowds, for instance, 
clumsy work by commanding officers may in a few 
minutes change an orderly assemblage into a mob. 

It is vital to successful work, and an obligation to 

Police Leadership 159 

the men, that they be given the most careful kind of 
training in self-defense. Policemen must be armed, 
trained, and kept in training. It will be found in 
some places that officers are taken on the force and 
turned out on the street to go about their duty armed 
with loaded revolvers, and yet with no training in 
the care or use of the weapon. This was the situa- 
tion in New York only a few years ago. The result 
of it was that if an officer took a shot at anyone on 
the street, about the only safe individual within the 
range of his gun was the criminal he was shooting at. 
The policeman is entitled to a thorough course of 
training in revolver shooting, starting with methods 
of sighting the revolver, and of squeezing the trigger, 
and not ending until he is proficient at snap-shooting 
without sighting. It is only fair also that before 
being sent out on the street to perform duty, he 
should be put into first-class physical condition, 
should be taught to box and to wrestle, should have 
mastered a few simple jiu jitsu tricks which will 
enable him to handle a fighting prisoner without 
clubbing or mauling him. And then the policeman 
should be encouraged to keep himself fit. The cour- 
age of the men will be made more sturdy and instinc- 
tive if they have confidence in their own powers, in 
their marksmanship, their ability to use their hands 
and bodies, and if they keep themselves in sound 
physical condition, hard and supple. 

160 Policeman and Public 

It is really a grave question whether policemen 
should be allowed to carry revolvers at all unless they 
qualify periodically, showing that they still know 
how to handle the weapon and can shoot straight 
enough not to be a menace in the street. It is a 
fairly dangerous thing to arm an officer with as de- 
structive a weapon as a six-shooter and give him a 
certain amount of authority to use it, when he is 
completely incompetent to use it properly, and 
cannot even hit near the bull's-eye of a stationary 
target in a quiet pistol range, to say nothing of a 
moving, escaping felon in a crowded, excited street. 
It is a question further as to whether a police ad- 
ministration is not responsible, at least morally, for 
any harm that may be done with a revolver by an 
officer who has not been properly trained to handle 
and fire it. Unless he is trained and has passed 
satisfactory tests the administration knows, and 
should probably be held responsible for acting on the 
knowledge, that he is an unsafe man to be allowed to 
use a revolver. 

It is certainly unwise to give police power to any- 
one who has not been thoroughly trained and tested, 
and found to be qualified to exercise it wisely, with 
restraint, yet strongly when the occasion calls for 
force. It is unfair to the public as well as to the 
individual officer. For the public can hardly help 
suffering repeatedly at the hands of ignorant officers 

Police Leadership 161 

who do not know clearly what their duties are and 
what are the limitations of their duties, who have 
not been made to realize their responsibility, and 
been taught how to act so as to measure up to the 
important demands made upon them. The police- 
man is entitled to thorough, able training which does 
not stop the moment he goes on the street but con- 
tinues during his police life. If he acts harshly or 
cruelly or ignorantly, it is no one's fault except that 
of the public and the police administration, unless 
everything that could reasonably be done to fit him 
to perform his job well was done for him before the 
.shield was pinned on his breast and he WHS called to 
his post for duty. 

The well-trained, capable, confident man is the 
man most likely to accomplish his purpose without 
reporting to extreme measures, and proficiency is 
what lends confidence. If an officer knows the law, 
knows the methods of enforcing it, knows just what 
part he plays in the organization, is well trained to 
use his body, his club and his revolver, he is apt to 
look formidable, and the chances are strong that he 
will enforce order and prevent trouble on his post 
Dimply by being there. The officer who does not give 
the appearance of being able to handle himself and 
others is the very man who will be likely to be called 
upon to meet trouble. 


The Public's Part 

IN some cities the police force is a close corpora- 
tion, run by itself for its own sake, the chief 
coming from its own ranks, just going on the same 
way year after year, doing the same old things 
in the same old way. It resents interference, or 
being called on for unusual work; it "knows it all." 
"Leave us alone," is the attitude; "we know how to 
do the police job; if outsiders will only keep their 
hands off and stop meddling we shall be all right." 
It is a thing apart from the life and the needs of the 

What would the citizen of many an American 
city see if he looked closely at his police force? The 
individual policemen he would find to be rather 
portly, slow moving, their gait showing fallen 
arches. They have healthy red faces, are rather 
shiftless in the way they carry themselves, are not 
overcourteous, not overintelligent. 

The organization, he will find, "just growed" from 
the single village constable, gradually increasing 
until it became a city police force. It may be under 

The Public's Part 163 

civil service, or not. If so, then it is likely to be 
stagnating from the premium the civil service system 
of promotion places upon mediocrity. If not, it is 
probably a sort of political club. Such organiza- 
tion is like a string of beads : there is no subordina- 
tion and subdivision of authority. Everyone and 
everything is directly responsible to the chief. He 
for his part, through no fault of his own, has had no 
experience in organization which would fit him to 
plan out the work so as to make it easiest for his 
men and most useful for the city. His whole con- 
ception of his job is probably pounding the beat, 
keeping traditional records, keeping out of trouble. 

The conception the force would have of its duties 
could also be pretty well summed up in this phrase 
"pounding the beat." It does not know just why it 
"pounds," but this is what has always been done; 
and then, if someone comes along who needs to be 
arrest t-d, the officer is there to do it. There is no 
readjustment of beats to conditions, no conception 
of the need of a quick and responsive touch with the 
(hanging nreds of the community. 

Now, instead of that, what ought an American 
citi/en to see? The individual policeman should be 
alert, active, intelligent, flat-fronted, instead of 
flat-footed. As the arches of his feet are up, so 
should his aspect be, his eyes, his mien, his aim. 

The organization he should find fitted to the duties 

164 Policeman and Public 

it has to perform, just as an army or a big business 
organization is arranged so as to meet and conquer 
any difficulties that arise. 

In the army, for instance, when a new element in 
warfare appears, such as the use of poisonous gas, 
what happens? At once the organization is read- 
justed to deal with this new factor. Chemists study 
the question scientifically to invent not only defen- 
sive measures but also other gases and effective 
methods of attack. Masks are provided, with all 
the infinite care and skill that are necessary to make 
them work right. In the first place, the inventor has 
to devise a kind of mask that will keep the man in the 
front trenches alive and in fighting form when the 
gases come rolling over on him. These have then to 
be turned out in very large quantities, and the 
greatest care has to be taken in manufacture to make 
certain that they have no defects either from care- 
less workmanship or from sabotage, for one pinhole 
may cost the life of the hapless soldier who puts on 
that particular mask. The troops then have to be 
trained exactly how to use the mask, and they must 
practise until they acquire the necessary speed in 
adjusting it firmly, for one second's slowness in the 
proper adjusting and fastening of the mask may 
make the difference between life and death. And 
while the inventor is creating the mask, and the manu- 
facturer is making it, and the army commander is 

The Public's Part 165 

training his men to use it, all the time some other 
division in the organization must be looking ahead, 
trying to anticipate possible new varieties of gas 
that may perhaps need new kinds of masks for 

In the same way a police department may be up 
against an entirely new situation, or an old situation 
so developed and changed as to be practically new. 
The dope habit as we see it today, for instance, is of 
comparatively recent origin, and the dope fiend is a 
new kind of criminal, doubly dangerous because of 
the work that he may do while under the stimulus of 
the drug, and the lengths to which he will go to pro- 
vide himself with drugs to satisfy the craving of his 
tortured frame. How would a police force of the 
old conventional type meet that situation? Un- 
doubtedly if a policeman placidly pacing the pave- 
ment happened to have a drug fiend come on his beat 
and commit a crime there, he would take him into 
custody, beat him into submission if he resisted, hale 
him to court and charge him with the crime. If found 
guilty, the offender would be sent to jail. This would 
be the conventional method, the sole order of pro- 
cedure that would be followed where the organiza- 
tion is not adaptable, where the conception of duty 
is simply to go ahead as usual, and if this does not 
meet the needs of the citizens hard luck on the 
citi/ens ! 

166 Policeman and Public 

/ An emergency like this, however, must be met by 
a police force just as vigorously and intelligently 
as the army meets a new war method. The whole 
question of drugs must be studied. Endeavor must 
be made to find the sources of supply, and the most 
skillful detective work be used in order to apprehend 
and thwart illicit traders. Victims of the drug, 
mere users of it, must be treated not as criminals but 
as patients, and the police force, working in co- 
operation with other departments in the city, must 
provide means for treating the cases. The adequacy 
of the laws must be considered and such legislation as 
is necessary be advocated so as to prevent the deadly 
drug from falling into the hands of any except repu- 
table doctors. The policeman therefore cannot rest 
with simply arresting any drug fiend he happens to 
run across. He must study the question, must get 
at the causes, must devise the best means of remov- 
ing the causes, and then must fight until this is 

And finally, the citizen carefully examining his 
police force should see a body of men animated by 
the spirit of service, and undertaking the duty not 
merely of going through a mechanical performance 
of routine, but of doing whatever they can, in old 
ways or in new, to make the city a safer, a more 
wholesome, and a happier place for people to live in. 

The influence of an informed public opinion in 

The Public's Part 167 

raising police work to this high standard has not 
been potent. Public opinion manifests itself, if at 
all, in spasms of indignation againsi particular mani- 
festations of police negligence, or blundering, or 
dishonesty. The public does not show sustained 
interest, and the effect of this is that police forces 
have acquired the habit of taking in sail when the 
hurricane of public resentment rises and weathering 
the storm, knowing that it will blow itself out in a 
short time and the waters will again become smooth, 
and safe for indifferent or piratical sailors. 

It is of course difficult for the public to tell whether 
police work is being well done or not; this is one of 
the most puzzling features of the situation. In a 
factory it is another story ; the efficiency of the head 
of a department can be very accurately measured. 
If the work of his department, for instance, is manu- 
facturing rivets, record can be kept of the num- 
ber the department produces weekly, and the cost of 
production per rivet. If he is able to maintain 
or increase the production of first-quality articles 
at no greater or a little less expense of production, 
he is doing his work well. If he falls below in num- 
bers or mounts higher in expense he is not doing 

Policing a city, however, is very different from 
running a factory. It is difficult to tell whether the 
policeman is doing good work or not because the 

168 Policeman and Public 

results of his good work are not clearly apparent, 
as are the results in manufacturing. There might 
be, for instance, three burglaries in a certain police 
precinct during a week, yet it would be hard for the 
public to decide whether the work of the police was 
atrocious in allowing so many burglaries or, on the 
other hand, commendable in keeping the number so 
low. And you cannot judge by burglaries only: 
there are all sorts of crime to be prevented, all sorts 
of regulations to be enforced, of conditions to be 
maintained. Even with the most careful records 
it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the men 
in charge, since one factor may offset another, 
and the nature of the work is such that it does 
not easily lend itself to statistical representation. 
Usually, however, we shall be right in concluding 
that the work is not as well done as it might be. 
Very little work is. And we shall not go far 
wrong if we conclude that the work would be better 
if the public took a continuing interest in it, inform- 
ing itself as well as possible of the results ; and 
making it worth while for the policeman to try to do 

The public is entitled to be furnished with com- 
plete and accurate police records. These probably 
exist now in only a very few American cities, for the 
helpfulness of facts, the usefulness of exact informa- 

The Public's Part 169 

tion as to what is being done, has not yet been gen- 
erally understood by the police mind. 

In New York a few years ago a system of report- 
ing crimes was instituted. No record worth the 
name had been kept of crimes that had been com- 
mitted ; the only record was of arrests. Apparently 
it had been more convenient to keep track only of 
those cases where results were achieved. A system 
was introduced whereby every crime reported to the 
police was recorded, so that the officers responsible 
should know, not merely how many people were being 
arrested for certain crimes in a precinct, but how 
many crimes were being committed in that precinct. 
This, after all, is what we are most interested in. 

When this system was well under way, and crime 
was shown to be too prevalent in certain precincts 
tin- question was taken up with the captains as to 
what could be done to reduce it. Almost invariably 
a gratifying reduction ensued, and the head of the 
force took considerable satisfaction in the efficacy 
of his measures. 

As time went on, however, the results seemed almost 
too good to be true. Inquiry was made, and the sad 
conclusion was reached that the reduction was one 
on paper only. Often, very likely in perfectly good 
faith, when a captain was told that there was too 
much crime in his precinct, that the figures showed 
it, he simply thought it was up to him to have the 

170 Policeman and Public 

figures show something different. Complaint had 
never been made before as to the prevalence of crime 
no one had paid any attention to such an irrele- 
vant feature of police work; it was not conditions 
that were wrong, then, it was this plaguey, incon- 
venient report that a new theoretical administration 
had got out. If the report had not shown things 
wrong, things would not have been wrong, and it was 
far easier to improve the report than improve con- 
ditions. So a judicious number of complaints of 
crime were simply not entered on the book. The 
crimes had occurred all right; people had been 
robbed ; houses had been broken into ; citizens had 
been held up in the street, but this had never caused 
any trouble for the captain before, and it wouldn't 
now if it were just kept off the books. 

Two things were done to remedy this conception 
of report making. In the first place it was made 
clear to commanding officers that the administration 
had just one purpose, to keep down crime; that these 
reports were required only so that everyone, captain 
as well as commissioner, might know exactly what 
was happening in his precinct, and might thereby be 
guided to take remedial measures, but no captain 
was going to get in trouble so long as it was clear 
that he was honestly trying to do the best work he 
knew how. In the second place, a new system of 
records was devised with careful checks so that it 

The Public's Part 171 

would be difficult and risky for anyone to return in- 
complete or inaccurate figures. 

The extraordinary result was that whereas crime 
had been steadily "reduced" throughout the fall and 
early winter while the system of "canning com- 
plaints" had flourished, and although to the closest 
observer there was no apparent difference in crime 
conditions when the New Year was ushered in, yet 
the number of crimes officially reported in the city 
for the last week of December, when the old comfort- 
able custom of non-recording existed, was about one- 
half the number reported for the following week, the 
first in January, under the new system with its 
effective checks. The lullaby of falsified figures was 
never more strikingly illustrated; it seemed a shame 
to wake everyone up by rudely insisting on facts! 

Indeed, the commissioner was seriously advised by 
a friendly officer not to have the facts recorded ; 
"for," he said, "if there should one of those investi- 
gations of the department come along, they would 
bo mighty inconvenient!" 

There is no mystery about police work, although 
much mystery has been thrown about it. There is 
no reason why figures of crime should not be avail- 
able to anyone who is interested. There is, of course, 
sound reason why facts should not be published which 
would interfere with the success of specific work, but 
these facts are few and practically are confined to 

172 Policeman and Public 

information as to the progress of special cases in 
which the offender would have a better chance of 
eluding justice if he could find out just what the 
police knew. 

Inefficiency and negligence are hard to conceal if 
results have to be furnished. The best cover to con- 
ceal poor work is the thick veil of mystery the 
insistence that there is something about police work 
that must be kept shrouded in secretiveness or the 
work will suffer. The truth is, that if clouded in 
secrecy it is pretty sure to be badly done. All our 
cities will be safer and our police forces will be better 
workers if the closed book is opened up, if the light 
is let in and the public sees. This can be done, for 
it has been done, and with gratifying results. 

Probably everyone believes that policemen should 
be honest, and agrees that everything possible should 
be done to keep them honest. Yet individuals who 
would enthusiastically endorse this are prone some- 
times, under pressure, to act in ways which directly 
tempt policemen to dishonesty. 

A friend of a police commissioner once called him 
up over the telephone and in a voice a little excited 
told him that he had been arrested. 

"Hard luck," was the answer. "What had you 
been doing? Running too fast?" 

"Why, yes," he said. "How did you know that? 
That is, the policeman said I was going too fast." 

The Public's Part 173 

"Well, how fast was it?" 

"The policeman said thirty-five miles an hour," 
he answered. 

"How fast were you going?" 

"Well, I might have been going twenty." 




"No, I don't think so." 

"Did you look at your speedometer?" asked the 

"No, but I know pretty well how fast I was going ; 
I have driven so much." 

"Well, I am sorry for your sake you got caught. 
Better luck next time." 

To which he replied : "Wait a minute ! I have been 
arrested that is, served with a summons to appear 
in court tomorrow. Can't you do something?" 

"Well, of course, I'll do anything I can for you, 
but just what do you think I could do?" 

He hesitated and stammered about thinking the 
head of the police force could do something for an 
old friend who had been arrested by one of his own 

"Now, see here," the commissioner answered, "I 
know you mean all right, and I would do anything 
in the world that was possible, but in plain English 
the only conceivable thing I could do to help you 

174 Policeman and Public 

would be to tell the policeman who served the sum- 
mons on you to go to court tomorrow morning and 
commit perjury in your favor by my direction, 
swearing that you did not go thirty-five miles an 
hour, as he knows you did, but that you went only 
twenty miles an hour, which he knows is a falsehood. 
Besides directing him to commit the crime of perjury, 
I should be forcing him to stultify himself and ex- 
pose himself to most embarrassing questions from 
the court as to why in the world he had arrested you 
anyway if you weren't going any faster than that." 

"Why why of course I don't want anything 
like that ; I would not think of it for a minute. You 
know I wouldn't. I just thought perhaps you could 
do something. Good-bye. I'll face the music." 

When the actual situation was placed before him 
he naturally was unwilling to have any such thing 
done in his favor. He at once saw the enormity of it. 
But if it had been described less nakedly; if the 
answer given him had been simply, "Why, yes, old 
boy, I may be able to help you out. I'll see what I 
can do. Good luck !" then he would have gone to 
court with a light heart ; and when the policeman 
testified that, although he had thought the speed 
was thirty-five miles an hour, he had since realized 
that his speedometer had been shaken and therefore 
he could not absolutely testify with certainty, the 
friend would have taken his acquittal with a light 

The Public's Part 175 

heart and a friendly handshake to the policeman who 
had perjured himself, and walked off well pleased 
with himself and grateful to his friend. 

Such things are ugly, however, whether they are 
called by their proper ugly names or not. The pub- 
lic forgets the Golden Rule when it tempts police- 
men to do a dishonest thing. Without going into 
the comparative ethical ratings of tempter and 
tempted, it is plain that the tempter does a dishon- 
orable deed and contributes his bit, which may be 
far larger than he would dream, toward breaking the 
morale of the very police force that he and other 
members of the public retain to uphold law and 
righteousness. Probably the great trouble is that 
people do not realize, perhaps because they do not 
choose to, just what they are doing. It may be a 
good deal like the situation with reference to the 
regulatory laws, where the public believes in certain 
restrictions, yet individuals arc quite ready to evade 
these restrictions for their own personal conven- 
ience. From crooks and purveyors of vice one can- 
not expect any sort of self-denying conduct for the 
sake of maintaining the morale of the police force; 
if, however, in a year there were not one single case 
of an average citizen's tempting a policeman to do 
something unworthy, the change from the usual 
course of events would be considerable, and the help- 

176 Policeman and Public 

ful influence on the force far greater than might be 

A police force is very sensitive and responsive to 
public opinion. If it gets a feeling that it has a bad 
name and that, no matter what happens, the public 
thinks ill of it, it will be apt to accept the public 
estimate. And it is true not only of police forces, 
but of groups of human beings under all conditions, 
and also of individuals. If the public seems to have 
the idea that policemen are all grafters, are all loafers, 
are all fat, impotent supporters of lamp-posts that 
public will probably be fairly successful in moulding 
its police force according to its conception. 

But the public can be just as powerful in raising 
the morale of its force as in battering it down. If 
citizens are ready to believe well of the force ; if they 
realize that the despicable deeds of individual police- 
men may be isolated instances of wrongdoing and 
may be perhaps comparatively few when one con- 
siders the total number of the force ; if they are slow 
to condemn, waiting for facts before sitting in judg- 
ment; and if they are ready generously to recognize 
good work, that public will week by week, by the 
impalpable influence of its good opinion, raise the 
tone and effectiveness of its force. 

The public should be just as ready to recognize 
and approve good police work as it is to condemn bad 
work. Unfortunately it is apt to hear more of the 

The Public's Part 177 

bad deeds than of the good ones ; the story of the 
grafting policeman, hitching up as it does in some 
way with the vague, mysterious, misrepresented 
underworld, always makes good reading. Plain, 
honest, steady performance of duty is only dull read- 
ing, and, one is thankful to say, not news. 

The duty of the public toward its police force is, 
then: to provide it with sound leadership; to keep 
informed as to how the work is being done ; to insist 
that the policeman's welfare physical, mental, 
moral is well looked after; to demand from the 
force a high grade of performance of duty; to de- 
spise and condemn dishonest or any other unworthy 
conduct in a policeman or one who tempts him ; but to 
be quick, cordial, and generous in perceiving good 
police work and in giving it whole-hearted approba- 
tion. With this sort of public attitude our police 
forces would be regenerated ; the service rendered to 
the community would rise higher and higher; the 
policemen, besides doing their work better along the 
old, tried, conventional paths, would reach out to new 
methods, would find and carry into operation means 
to prevent crime and to save those that are tempted 
to commit crime ; so that besides apprehending crimi- 
nals they would go a step farther and prevent crime, 
and then again another long, splendid step farther 
and prevent people from becoming criminals. 

There are no hidden, gruesome, forbidding prac- 

178 Policeman and Public 

tices necessary for the performance of superior 
police work. In the old days of evil understanding 
with criminals, such things existed ; but now when 
the duty of the policeman is conceived as not being 
to compromise and chaffer with the criminal as to 
where and how he may and may not work, but is 
clearly and flatly to keep down crime in every way, 
the profession is an open, honorable one. The pub- 
lic should know what is going on. It has a right to 
know in detail what its guardians are doing in order 
that it may intelligently conclude as to whether they 
should be discharged, or slapped on the back with 
approval and have their pay raised. 

And the pojice on *hfir part need the understand- 
ing of the pnhlif T'hffry are thrown inevitably into 
close association with the seamy side of life; they are 
hired to control it. They need, therefore, to become 
acquainted with the great, wholesome public. They 
need the spirit which they will gather from it to 
carry them through the trying, tempting days when 
they are wrestling with the outlaw. 

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